My daughter Bethany has been taking pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Somehow, she developed this knack for setting up a photo so that it looks really cool. She can look at something and see beauty where I just don't. For Christmas, she got a really nice camera and it has really enhanced those skills she already had.
She's taken a few senior pictures for friends, which made me a little nervous because that's a pretty big responsibility. They turned out really nice though, and she was quite thrilled to see the finished product being handed out at school. Last weekend, she took engagement pictures of her sister Molly, and Molly's fiancee Nate. It was 2 degrees out with blizzard conditions but they took them anyway. If I can find them, I'll post them here so you can see.
She's considered studying photography in college, but she's unsure if that's something that you can be employed doing. I know a lot of people these days have really nice cameras and aren't using professional photographers as much as they used to. However, I think she could have a side business that would keep her pretty busy!
I was reminded last night that spring training for the Detroit Tigers starts February 15. This is their year, man. I can feel it. I guess I'll be starting my own little mini countdown in my head for this date.
Winter is a really good time to curl up on the couch and knit. So here's what I've been working on this weekend.
Its a simple 1 X 1 knit, purl ribbing using 2 skeins of Bernat Mosaic yarn. The yarn on the right is called Psychedelic and its been really fun to use because the color is constantly changing. The other is called Waterfall and it too changes color but the change is so subtle that its harder to detect. I saw this combination on a new website my daughter found called Ravelry. A community-based website, this has searchable patterns, some of which are free. If they're not free, they give you a link to the original website so you can buy the pattern. Being the frugalista I am, I tend not to buy patterns because there are so many wonderful free ones to use.
Another nice feature of this website is that you can search for a pattern based on the yarn you own. If, like me, you go to the store and buy yarn just because it looks pretty but then you get it home and have no idea what to do with it, this is a good resource to have. As it happens, while at JoAnn's buying the yarn in the picture, I also picked up some sock yarn in a really pretty shade of purple. This yarn will probably become mittens.
Baking is another good thing to do in the Winter. Friday night I added some ingredients to my bread recipe to make a rich egg dough for cinnamon rolls. Now, no one in my house needs a cinnamon roll, but it sure was good warm from the oven with the cream cheese frosting melting down the sides!
A little late to the party here, but I've got some goals. Like my niece Nancy, I'm not going to call them resolutions because those never last.
I'm setting a weekly weight loss goal because some weeks will be more stressful than others, and frankly, there's no point in trying to lose weight the week of Thanksgiving, say. So in my head (you didn't think I'd put them down for all the world to see did you???) I'll come up with a number for that week. Believe me, you'll know if I've met them or not.
Try and develop some semblance of organization in my household.
Exercise on a routine basis. I'm still undecided as to whether I should get up at 4:30 and get it over with, because typically if left until the end of the day, I'm just too tired or lazy to do it then. But I know me, and I don't get up that easily. I'm a hit- the- snooze -button- 4- times kind of girl.
I am very fortunate that I have a job and that my physical needs are met. I'd like to make more of an effort to help those less fortunate than me. I'm not quite sure yet how that will happen, but at the very least, I will be donating to the local Rescue Mission as they are always in need of groceries for needy families. Our church also has a pantry that is stocked for families in need so I can donate stuff to that as well. I'm sure if I look hard enough, I'll find many people that can use some help.
I really enjoy making cards and I have an extensive supply of stuff that I can use to do this. I just don't take the time. So I'm going to make more of an effort to get downstairs into my scrapbooking area to make more cards.
I'd also like to do more knitting. We just donated a trash bag full of yarn to one of the local nursing homes for their residents to use, so now I can restock with better yarn. I've made tons of stuff in the past and was on a felted purse kick for a while (made about 5 of them and never used one) but now I'm thinking scarves and mittens. If I'm successful with this one, I'll post pictures.
I get so caught up in my own little world that I tend to neglect tried and true friends. Really, friends and family are the most valuable resources any of us have, and I'm going to take more time appreciating them. I know! I'll send them homemade cards and knit them a scarf!
By the way...
My oldest daughter got engaged on Christmas Day! She's been dating her boyfriend for the past 6 years and they decided to make it official. There's no immediate plan for a wedding as she'd like to finish college first (which she says will be in 4 years). My daughter Molly is one of the smartest people I know... lots of common sense and a really good head on her shoulders. I'm so proud of the young woman she's become, and how she conducts her life. I'm not sure I have anything to do with that but I sure did get lucky when it comes to my kids!
As a general rule, I don't like salads. Oh wait. Let me qualify that...I don't like salads that I make at home. I love those fancy schmancy ones you get in restaurants; the ones with dried cherries and some kind of nut or other doo dad in them, but I'm not a fan of the bag-o-salad you can buy in the store. I'm not above buying them and using them when I need a really quick salad fix, but I'm not happy about it when I do it. I feel like I'm cheating or something. Anyway... I'm giving you a recipe that is really well-liked by everybody that tries it. Its my mom's recipe so that means its good (because my mom is the world's best cook. Seriously. )
And like Elaine from Seinfeld, sometimes I just want a really big salad, and I could eat this whole thing by myself.
Spinach Salad (I never hardly ever use spinach, actually)
1 lb spinach 1 head Boston Bibb 1 c. sliced celery 1/2 c. sliced green onions.
Right here I need to stop and tell you that I'm giving you my mom's recipe word for word, but I don't make it this way. I usually use Romaine, or any other salad green thats on sale. Today, I used 2 heads of Romaine, and thats all. No onions or celery. Still quite wonderful.
Mix above and add: 15 oz. mandarin oranges, or a bunch of sliced fresh strawberries - Actually, any fruit will work here. I've used apples, pears, and peaches, whatever is in season. 1/2 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
And now, I'm going to give you the secret ingredient. This technique alone will make any salad that much better. Honest. To. God.
Saute 2 T sugar and 1/2 cup slivered almonds. Stir often until brown and the sugar is all melty. Spread this out to cool on aluminum foil. This works with just about any nut - I usually use whatever I have in the pantry. Pecans are also quite delightful.
Dressing: 1/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon dry mustard 5 Tablespoons white vinegar 1 teaspoon salt
mix above and gradually add 1 cup of oil.
You can also add 1 and a half teaspoons of grated onion and 1 and a half teaspoons of poppy seeds if you don't mind picking them out of your teeth for the rest of the day. (can you tell what I usually leave out? )
This is, by far, my favorite salad. I make it whenever I'm asked to bring a salad somewhere - its easy to double the size of this and it usually goes pretty quickly.