Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions...Take the stairs, do the math and DRINK MORE WATER!

My best New Year's resolution was “take the stairs”. It was an excellent resolution that has become a healthy habit for me. Still to this day...if I have the option of an elevator, escalator or stairs...I take the stairs. With a couple of exceptions...if I'm lugging luggage or if it seems unsafe or creepy to be in an isolated stairwell.

My worst new years resolution was “do the math”. Which meant don't use a calculator and do my daily mathematics the old fashioned way...on paper. That resolution lasted about 2 weeks.

For 2011, I think I have a great resolution...“drink more water”...which I am horrible about doing. This year I have applied some rules to this refreshing resolution. Each day I will drink 32 ounces of water by noon (excluding coffee) and another 32 ounces by 5pm. I'm hoping this will become a lifelong habit.

What about you? I'd love to hear your resolutions!

Happy New Year!

Click here to hear about another one of my New Year's resolutions!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whistler in Late January

I have another great resort deal to tell you about.

This one is for a studio unit (sleeps 2, partial kitchen) at the Clock Tower in Whistler.
Approx 2 hours drive from the Vancouver BC airport.
7 nights for $450.
January 29-Feb 5 (Saturday to Saturday)

More photos and info here!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Christmas is starting!

My husband, who is a university professor, is on winter break. Our daughter has just flown in from rainy Los Angeles. Our son, now living in Seattle, will drive to Portland tomorrow. My parents and sister, from California, will fly today. My mother-in-law and her soon-to-be-husband will get to into town on Thursday. My Seattle brother and my Vancouver brother and their families will arrive Christmas Eve.

With the arrival of all of our visitors... the hustle and bustle of the season is giving way to all of the good stuff that Christmas is about!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Customize Your Own "Treat Bag" Tag

A fun way for you to make a little baggie of treats even more special.

Go to Shabby Blogs to get this free download.
Thank you, Shabby Blogs.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas and New Year's in ITALY?

Great last minute deal on lodging in hours drive North of Rome, Italy!

View from Palazzo Catalani
Do you know anyone in Italy that might like to take advantage of a great deal on
a last minute get-away? I've mentioned before that I can get great deals on resort
properties thru my timeshare exchange club. Then...I pass the savings onto you.

This deal just came thru!
December 25-Jan 1, Studio suite, partial kitchen, sleeps 2.
$375 US dollars (total...this is $54 per night) for 7 nights at Palazzo Catalani 
(an hours drive North of Rome)

Address:Via Montecavallo 26
Soriano Nel Cimino, Viterbo (VT) 01038
Italy MAP

Palazzo Catalani
Contact me right away if you are interested! Or if you are vacationing 
somewhere else, I may be able to get you a great deal on a resort.

Club Suite at Palazzo Catalani
 Doesn't it look heavenly?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Word Lens App

I spotted this news on the Design Mom blog.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I think something like this one iPhone App
could change the world!  
Watch this 70 second video!
What do you think?

Word Lens...real time sign translation

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Red Envelope quantity still available

I posted about this groupon earlier this month and notice it is still available... this time with an expiration date of June 17, 2011

$15 for $30 worth of gifts at Red Envelope Catalog and can be used towards shipping and it expires June 17, 2011. Be sure to read the fine print. If you sign up and get on the Red Envelope email list you will be sent additional discounts and offers for free shipping. Also, before you order click around for discount codes.

Melting Men by Nele Azevedo

Artist Nele Azevedo

“Melting Men is a series of art installations from the Minimum Monument project created by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo (shown above). Since 2005, Azevedo has been setting up her Melting Men in various countries around the world.” This is in an effort to draw attention to Global Warming. To see more photos and to learn more about this project you can click on the photo captions.

Gendarmenmarkt square, Berlin

Gendarmenmarkt square, Berlin
Berlin 2009

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Morning

One of my favorite things about Christmas day is the leisurely pace of the day after a busy month. One of our Christmas morning traditions is to enjoy a yummy brunch, that for the most part, has been made a day or two ahead and baked before serving. (I love recipes that can be made ahead of time.)

About an hour before we think we might want to eat, we pop the premade casserole in the oven. Everyone helps set the table, pour the juice, make the coffee. Sometimes we'll eat after we have opened gifts; other times we take a break from gift giving and enjoy the leisurely meal.

Photo from Cooking with Carrie blog. She features a similar recipe.

A couple of years ago I stared making the recipe below which calls for frozen hash browns instead of bread slices. People go crazy over this recipe! And it's easy to make it gluten free! Don't worry about being too exact. Sometimes I use less eggs and less cheese. This will make enough for two 9 x 13 dishes.

I call the recipe “Christmas Morning
it's from my friend Thelma who has adapted it from this recipe

1 pound bacon diced then fried
1 medium sweet onion chopped (baseball size or bigger if you are a fan of onions)
12 eggs (can use less)
4 cups frozen hash browns
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz cottage cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1 - fry the bacon, drain and set aside
2 - saute the onions until soft in a tiny amount the bacon grease or vegetable oil.
3 - combine bacon and onions
4 - add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and pour into a greased 9 by 13 dish.

Bake @ 350' for 45-60 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 45 min. 

Friday, December 10, 2010


I have to tell you the sweetest little story. Wednesday, I was browsing at Peggy Sunday's, the wonderful kitchen/home/candle/gift shop, in Multnomah Village (Portland, Oregon). There were two moms, each holding the hand of what looked to be a 5 year old child. They were admiring some candles. One mom asked the other mom: “What are your favorite kind of candles?” I didn't hear what the other mom answered, but the little boy said to his little friend: “My favorite kind of candles are birthday candles.” :)

Photo by Tommy Huynh

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Java Log...Eco-Friendly Firelog

The logs sell for about $4.50 each.

I was just at at holiday party at my very-green-friend-Susan's home. She had a wonderful fire burning in her fireplace. Turns out she was burning Java Logs that she had purchased at New Seasons (a local organic store). I hadn't heard of these so I'm really excited to tell you about them!

They are made out of recycled coffee grounds (about 350 cups worth of grounds), a vegetable wax (natural and renewable) and molasses. It has 25% more energy than wood and produces less carbon-monoxide than wood! I think they would make a unique host or hostess gift.

After doing a little reading for my post today I see that there are some tutorials on making your own coffee logs. I also see that these have been featured on the Oprah, Ellen and other popular TV shows. Is this news to you or did you already know about these? I'd like to know what you think of these?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Composting in the Kitchen

I first saw these Naturemill composters on the Design Mom blog.  With so many cities offering food scrap recycling (yay Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability!) people are already saving their food scraps for curbside pick up. Why not put them to use and make your own compost right in your own kitchen?

They can be kept anywhere (garage, laundry room)...even outdoors in the snow, rain, or freezing temperatures.

They seem easy to use:
1. Add waste items-any time, any day
2. The upper chamber mixes, heats, and aerates. Compost later transfers to the lower chamber, so you can add fresh items.
3. Empty every 2 weeks, when the red light comes on.

No worms, bugs or trash odors. They use very little energy.

It looks like you may be able to find these at Home Depot, Target, Williams-Sonoma, Plow and Hearth other assorted locations.

What do you think of these?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Watering your Christmas tree

I want to tell you about a great way to make watering your Christmas tree a little bit easier. Go to your local auto parts or hardware store and pick up one of these super long funnels. They should be just a couple of dollars. I think you can figure out how to use it but I do have one tip! Because it takes the water a while to trickle down...stop pouring in the water before you think your Christmas tree stand is full...otherwise it may overflow. (I store ours under a nearby skirted sofa.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sparkly Cupcakes

Edible glitter stars...$6.99
I saw this delicious looking cupcake on the Oh Happy Day blog and had to re-post it. I think it looks so festive. For those of you out there, who are like me and need to know if the edible glitter stars are gluten free...the answer is YES!

They can be found on the Wilton online store. If you like baking or think you might like to start baking, you have to check out the Wilton site where you will find lots of ideas (for every occasion), recipes, links, tutorials, supplies and more!

PS...Some of Wilton's products can be found in stores like Jo Ann Superstores, Michaels and Party Depot.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Blogging Goodies

I am new to blogging and I am amazed to find people making wonderful graphic elements and offering them free of charge. Really, how nice it that? As a designer myself, I know how much work is involved in creating graphics and code! Thanks you guys!

Here are a few great graphics from fun blogs that I have come across. If you know of other sites it would be great if you would post them in the comments.

Thank you Rose Petals from Heaven, 
The Graphics Fairy, Poodwaddle and Shabby Blog!

Tis the Season is from Rose Petals from Heaven

The vintage Santa below is from The Graphics Fairy. 
She also has backgrounds available!

The Christmas countdown is from

One more amazing site that has lots of fun buttons, blinkies 
and backgrounds is

And yes...please do leave a comment!
(Scroll to the bottom to follow)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today's Online Groupon deals

I spotted these online Groupons on several of the cities that I watch. These deals are most likely good for TODAY only.

$15 for $30 worth of gifts at Red Envelope Catalog. This Groupon can be used towards shipping and it expires Feb. 28, 2011. Be sure to read the fine print. If you sign up and get on the Red Envelope email list you will be sent additional discounts and offers for free shipping. Also, before you order click around for discount codes.

$20 for $40 toward cheesecakes, cookies, brownies and more at Read the fine print for holiday shipping deadlines. Expires June 5, 2011. This offer will be on the bottom of the right hand side column under "Shop the Holiday Gift Store".

$15 for $30 worth of candles and gifts at The Candleberry Company. This is not good towards shipping. Expires June 3, 2011. This Groupon is also in the right-hand sidebar towards the bottom. the fine print.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Ronald McDonald House Kitchen!

This is my favorite kitchen in the whole world... the kitchen at the West Portland Ronald McDonald House, near Doernbecher Children's Hospital, where I am a weekly volunteer. The Ronald McDonald House offers overnight lodging for families with seriously ill children. Some families stay a night...others stay for months.  We have 16 guest rooms at the West Portland location. The East Portland Ronald McDonald House, near Emanuel Hospital, has 24 rooms.

Wonderful things happen in the Ronald McDonald House kitchen. Friendships are formed, meals are enjoyed, smiles and tears are shared. A Hispanic mom taught others how to make homemade corn tortillas. A mom from India prepared an Indian meal for the entire house and volunteers as a way of saying thank you for all of the support and friendship that she was shown during her 6 week stay. A 10 year old boy, battling Leukemia, proudly showed his grandpa how he had learned to crack eggs in this special kitchen.

Community groups bring in some meals or prepare them on-site. And guests are able to make their own meals in the well-equipped kitchen.

As a house volunteer I answer phones, check-in and check-out families, clean rooms, organize closets, make food...whatever needs doing I am happy to do. I love being at the house and am constantly inspired by the brave families that we are lucky enough to have stay with us.

Click here to learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities and consider how you can become involved with/support this well-run, wonderful organization.