Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
2. you can have the daily paper read and the sudoku puzzle complete by 6 am
3. getting a head start on laundry (very quietly of course, so as not to wake the rest of the house) is never a bad thing
4. in the summer, you can get all of your days accounting done so you can spend the afternoon at the pool
5. you can catch up on all of the blogs you haven't read in the last few days
6. you can whip up these muffins, so they are all warm and melty when they guys get up:
Ham & Cheesy Muffins
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. diced deli ham
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 450, lightly grease a 12 c. muffin tin. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Toss the ham and cheese in with the egg mixture, stir it up, and add it to the dry mixture along with the melted butter. DON'T OVERMIX (the secret to muffins in general....) Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full and pop in the oven. Turn it down to 400 degrees, and bake for 18-20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then pop them from the pan, and go wake up the rest of the household!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
ACES is pretty much all about discretionary spending, no one really NEEDS to go fly a flight simulator. We get that. But we still need to pay our rent, and our employees.
Just as farmers often have to change what they do, and adapt to market conditions-we at ACES need to do the same. And our answer to changing economies?
Growing us a bumper crop of simulator parts:
Luckily, we are a diverse company. Not only can you fly with us, we can build you your very own simulator!
While we have built occasional simulators for folks in the past, this is our biggest order so far. And it could not have arrived at a more provident time. In less than one month, Mike will be installing four fully functioning simulators (knock on fiberglass) at a local school, with three more to follow shortly after that.
So here is what Mike's days look like:
I start the sewing part of the operation this week, if we have time to take some unflattering shots of me wrestling with fabric I will be sure to post them.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Happy first day of fall!
Even though it was completely summer-like this weekend, that doesn't mean you can't celebrate fall by whipping up a pan full of Pumpkin Bars.
Did you know that they do not have any concept of "bars" on the East Coast? They also call pop "soda" and a water fountain is a "bubbler". In addition, they have no idea what a "hotdish" is.
Who knew that living in the Midwest made life so much simpler?
For those of you feeling the need to bake a little Midwest Fall Flavor, I proudly share my recipe for Pumpkin Bars:
2 cups sugar (yup, 2 entire cups)
3/4 c. oil
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, grease a 10" x 15" jellyroll pan. In one mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, and pumpkin. In another, combine the rest of the ingredients. Combine the wet and the dry, pour into the pan, and bake for around 25 minutes. Let them cool.
Here's the frosting-the best part:
4 oz. cream cheese, soft
1/3 c butter, soft
2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whip it all up with a handheld mixer (start with 1 Tbsp of cream, and add more as you need it for spreadability) and frost the bars. If you like, sprinkle some toasted pecans or walnuts over the top. yum yum yum
One of the foods that make fall worth experiencing!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
When I was young, I loved Sunday night, as it meant that I could go to school the next morning!(I LOVED school in the early years.) And on top of that, we got to watch "The Wonderful World of Disney".
In college, it meant that I better get crackin' on all of the homework I had neglected all weekend.
When I managed a store for Northwest Fabrics and Crafts, Sundays were no different than any other day, as I had to work all the time anyway.
When I worked for Target, I was always dismayed that my very short weekend was over (as I often brought work home with me).
With a school age child, it is always about making sure that everything is ready for Monday morning. (money for lunches? anything to sign? homework finished? clean clothes to wear?)
Charlie has embarked on a new mission this year-when he gets off the bus on Friday, he wants to get his homework done right away, so he doesn't have to deal with it on the weekend.
So tonight, rather than thinking about the fact that it is Sunday night, I am enjoying a glass of wine, and reading a new book I picked up at Barnes and Noble while Charlie was at soccer practice tonight.
Who knew it would take that long to think that Sunday nights can be good?
Friday, September 19, 2008
The weather forecast for the weekend is positively summery. Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving us one last chance to celebrate all that we love about warm, sunny days. Based on last weekend's cold, drippy weather, we thought summer had already left us behind.
How can you best take advantage?
1. Go to the drive-in (if you live here in the cities). It starts earlier than it did in July, there are no bugs, and you can curl up with a warm fuzzy blanket if you get chilly.
2. Head to Farmer's Market and buy a bushel of tomatoes and whip up some pasta sauce to throw in the freezer. When you use it in December, the smell will transport you back in time.
3. Pack up a picnic and head to a favorite spot, or scout out a new one.
4. Take a day long drive to Wisconsin and follow the River Road.
5. Sit on your porch, or in your back yard, late into the evening, with a nice glass of wine and a bunch of candles.
6. Head out of the city a bit and find a place to lie on your back and count the stars at night.
7. Make a pitcher of lemonade and eat drippy slices of watermelon.
8. Cut some flowers from your garden (or buy some) and put them in a fun vase in your kitchen.
9. Go for a bike ride and look for leaves that are starting to turn.
10. Hit up the last garage sales of the season-bring lots of change and a cup of coffee to keep in the car.
Mostly, just enjoy these golden, fleeting days!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Today I offer my "keeping it real", but you will be glad I don't offer a photo spread:
Every now and then, you just need to clean out the fridge, before you have to call in the haz mat team. Not just throwing away the leftovers that give you pause when you see them (has that really been in there for a week?) but going to the wall. You know, the very back of the fridge. Where all of those things end up that maybe you even forgot you had. And they are rarely treasures, or welcome surprises.
Being an adventurous cook (that's one way to describe it...) I found not one but two opened jars of hoisin sauce. The only dish I regularly use this for is Cashew Chicken, which I may make once a month. So why do I have two jars of it, and how long have they been opened? I hate it when there is no expiration date, and I have to decide. Throw it? Risk it? So then I smell it. ( Like you can tell with hoisin sauce.) Then I remember the mantra "When in doubt, throw it out". But I was a good little green girl, and rinsed out the jars, and put them in the recycling bin.
Did you know that an open jar of Smuckers Currant Jelly will not turn moldy, even if it expired in June of 2007?
But Bush's baked beans, (leftover from some night this summer when we grilled, and I felt I had to serve baked beans with our hamburgers, although apparently I am the only one who ever eats them), will develop fuzzy pillows of mold? Hey Charlie, do you need this for science class?
Perhaps I could conduct some food safety studies for a local food giant. And get paid to keep this stuff in my fridge. And justify why I hang on to the one limp tortilla left in the package. Am I really going to make it into a sandwich, when I can't remember what meal I used the rest of them on?
I feel confident saying that you can now safely eat anything you take out of my fridge. I even went through the bottles of salad dressing on the door. And yes, I went to the wall, so I know it's all good. Who knew my fridge had so much room in it? I may need to go to the grocery store today....
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I just stopped in to Deb's to get an update. Mari is having yet another major surgery today, her first skin graft did not take on her leg and they are going to try it again. She is still in the trauma unit, where visitors are extremely limited. Her boyfriend has been moved to another floor, but can go and visit her in a wheelchair. He has been able to keep both legs, but is unbelievable pain.
If they can get the skin grafts to take, it will be another 3 weeks in the hospital until she has a possiblity of being discharged.
A fund has been set up at US Bank, donations can be made at any branch. It is the Dan Sanford/Mari Plaster Benefit Fund. In addition, a fund raiser will be held at the American Legion in Roseville on Nov. 9th-more details to follow on that as they become available.
There are so many people in need right now, but if this story has touched you, please consider how you can help out two lovely young people whose lives have been changed forever.
I have hauled my sewing machine out of the attic, thinking that if it is out I will find time to use it for more than just hemming pants and sewing curtains for every season. And all of those notes on the board? Projects I want to do....
I love my big paper trimmer, it finally has it's very own shelf. And those books are the ones I use most to inspire me. Ali Edwards, Cathy Zielske, Donna Downey. Amazing ladies!I bought this old printers tray at an antique store in Bemidji several years ago, and modified it to fit my rubber stamps. The magnetic strip was .99 at Ikea, and the jars that fit on it are from there too.And yes, those are jelly beans. Every once in a while a girl gets hungry while she is creating.
This hanging bar was .99 at Ikea, and so were the cute green buckets to hang off of it. The red glass jars were a rummage sale find. It all works!
But my favorite part? This painting that Mike bought me when we were in Duluth. It is a picture of the exact spot he proposed to me, so long ago.Now that it is all pulled together, I should get up there and quit blogging!
Monday, September 15, 2008
So now we move into a different mode around here-easy dinners, finding a few minutes of down time when we can, letting all but the basic house chores go until we are finished. It's exciting, but tiring, and in the end, it will be very rewarding. I love that Charlie gets to see our example, of what it takes to get something done, and that you can work for yourself, and not be tied down to a corporate schedule. Wait a minute, we ARE a corporation! Well, maybe a different kind of corporate schedule...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Amy is a unique person, with wonderful ideas. Here is the latest:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QVQSZA9zSk
I am definitely going to send something, I just don't know what! I love that someone is taking the time to find the beauty in the every day, and remind us how important each of us is, no matter who we are or what we do.
Send something in!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
It has wonderful characters (whoever did the casting was a genius) and many fabuous one-liners. I need to own this movie.
It got me to thinking about what my one-liners that I believe in would be:
"nothing in this world is more important than being kind" (a lesson that I have drilled into my child's head from the time he could understand me).
"consider how someone else would feel if you did that to them" (really, still having to do with the whole kindness thing, often referred to as the Golden Rule).
"what can I cook that will make me feel better?"
"ten years from now, will this be important to me?"
"will this make me feel good about myself, or will I have trouble sleeping tonight?"
"what can I do today, that will make someone else have a better day?"
Yes, these are things I think about on a regular basis. I think it is important that the person who measures my fabric at Joann's knows that I appreciate what they do. That the person who served my food at the restaurant has my respect. That the UPS man who comes to my house nearly every day gets a smile and a thank-you.
Call me goofy, but I happen to think that it is important that the people who take care of what you need every day are acknowledged. I am thinking that if we all did a little more of that, the world would be a better place.
I was in a long line at our neighborhood grocery store today, and they opened another register. The guy who was behind me, said "go ahead!" The person who was behind him, rushed to the open register, and we both shook our heads. Apparently, she was more important. I chose not to let it bother me. I chose to take the "higher road".
And sometimes, that is all you can do.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The black wooden thing is actually used to darn socks, which I do so often. No, really, it is going to be some kind of Halloween thingy yet to be determined. Loved the Midnight flash card, and the BOO is from an anagram game!
Another flash card, that will either be used as a mat for a picture of my mom, or a gift tag to use when I give her the bracelet for Christmas. Yes, actually made from old typewriter keys.
It says "LOVE YA". Shhh! Don't tell!
Who doesn't need an old cutting board shaped like a slice of bread? I just loved the feel of the wood and the shape of the bowl and antique weaving shuttle. The spelling card will be used to make a collage that includes the picture on my blog's sidebar of my grandma with her birthday cake.
This is all in theory of course, when I actually find the time to do all of these projects. But for now the plans certainly help justify my purchases.
I even made a business purchase, this old organizer will be perfect to gather all of my envelopes, holders, brochures, and gift cards for the store.There were items that we ran across that the three of us knew were just too good to pass up, and we took turns buying them. This one was my turn. Joanne got a really cool revolving stamp holder, and Kari got a whole mason jar full of old alphabet rubber stamps.
Happy shoppers! It was so fun to share this day with them.
But my favorite find, and the thing that made the whole trip worthwhile, was this card catalog.
I have been wanting one for years, and this one was in gorgeous orginal condition, and just the right size. I even bargained for it, so I felt good about what I paid. Also in the photo, you can see a beautiful mohair throw I found for a song, an amazingly wonderful pumpkin (yes, it's real), some keys, and some bittersweet to begin my fall decorating.
Because now I am definitely in the mood.
Hugs to my dear friends Kari and Joanne for sharing this fun day with me ! Next time we will wear our bed jackets and aprons...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Eggs Benedict at Bon Vie. perfect hollandaise. enough said.
Sweet Potato Fries at Highland Grill. oh yum. Pretty much anything else they make is great too.
Penne Rosa at Noodles and Company. our favorite "we are hungry and don't want to cook" restaurant.
Ham/Brie/Pear Panini at La Patisserie, followed by something delightful for dessert, of course.
Mushroom Swiss Burger at the Nook. oodles of fat calories for your dining pleasure.
Spring Rolls from a vendor at the St. Paul Farmer's Market.
Wine & cheese on the patio at WA Frost. it's the setting that matters.
Risotto at La Grolla. you will moan with pleasure.
Anything at Carmello's, our favorite locally owned Italian place.
Breakfast at the Neighborhood Cafe. Good service, good food, and not usually a long wait.
And one non-St. Paul place, Sea Salt over in Minnehaha Park. It takes forever to order your food, and it takes forever to get your food, but somehow, that is okay. The Fish Basket is so yummy with a cold beer and sitting on the patio. Only if you have lots of time to kill.
Guess all of my visits to the State Fair really got my tastebuds going. Think I better have a nice healthy bowl of cereal and get over it!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
While I certainly have my viewpoints, I have no desire to share them with the world. I feel politics is a very personal dynamic, and if you ask me what I think, I will certainly tell you, but I am not one to wear my beliefs on a t-shirt, or on a sign in my yard. I don't subscribe to any one party, but I know what I believe in, and choose the candidates who represent those ideas when I enter the voting booth.
Through these last few weeks, (with the RNC being held practically in our back yard) when politics have taken center stage in the media, Mike and I have been teaching Charlie that it is very important for there to be debate (without getting nasty), and disagreement (without destroying property), and lots of ideas. The biggest thing we are trying to impress upon him is that EVERYONE'S beliefs and ideas deserve respect, whether or not we agree with them.
And sadly, I don't see a lot of that. A person's political beliefs are just a small part of who they are as a person, and the rest of the things that makes you who you are, on a day to day basis, are far more interesting!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Charlie, happily skipping off to the bus for first grade:Charlie, plodding to the bus stop under the weight of his ginormous backpack, to fifth grade:(secretly wishing he was still sitting on the couch in his pajamas, playing video games).
Charlie's childhood, flying by us as swiftly as the school buses drive by our house: