Thursday, January 22, 2009

Out for a Drive

Last weekend we had a little snow up in the mountains not far from our house. Here's the thing.... every true Southerner is totally enchanted by snow, we get downright giddy over it. So when there is snow to be found, you load up in the 4-wheel drive and go look at it.

First we came to a small frozen reservoir.

Then we crossed a little creek and started to climb the mountain.

Near the top we stopped at an old rock quarry,

And marveled at the sheets of icicles hanging from the rock faces.

We marveled some more....

Still marveling....

My little scientist decided he needed a sample of the ice. Yes, he is standing on a sheet of solid ice. I am grateful that we did not have to end up with a trip to the ER.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep....
(I love that poem)

Of course there is a dark side to the beauty of ice and snow. As the owner of this vehicle found out.... the hard way. Luckily no one was seriously injured.

We ended the day cleaning off the mud and muck. I definitely had the better end of this event. Inside with the heater :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rag Time

So, I'm ready to show you my weekend Zone project~ I made a Rag Quilt Bag. I love how Rag Quilt projects turn out so soft and fluffy. To get started I cut out my squares of denim, floral print, flannel, and backing pieces.

Then I layered the pieces and arranged them into the pattern I wanted.

I picked out a cheerful little button from by button box~

And of course I selected some ric-rac because it is just fun :-)

Then I sewed the squares together to form the front, back, sides, and bottom. When making a Rag Quilt, you sew backwards... the seams are on the outside.

Then I made the pockets, straps and button closure.

I like to add linings to my bags so that I can make the pockets the size I want.

After I put the linings in place I start to assemble the bag. It sort of looks like a little girls dress in this shot...... hummmm that's an idea.
I pinned the straps and button closure in place and then sewed the top seam.

Next I attached the button.....

Then it was time to get Snippy. I can not stress enough that to make a rag quilt, you need a good pair of snips! I tried to make my first project with just a pair of scissors to snip the seams..... My hand hurt for DAYS!! Plus it took at least 3 times as long to complete.

Here's the finished project~ an inside view...

And the front. Now all it needs is a spin in the washer and dryer and it will fluff up and soften.

This is a lap quilt I made this Spring. See how the seams look fuzzy and oh so soft?

This is another bag that I made. I jazzed it up with some embroidery on my machine. I really liked it, but I sold it to a lady in California. I may have to make another one for me.
I have a couple of other projects to share with you, but I will have to wait until they reach their destinations.... I wouldn't want to spoil any surprises.
Warm and happy greetings from the Zone~Rhonda

Friday, January 9, 2009

In the Zone

Today I am being creative. I will be immersed in fabric, ribbon, buttons, etc....

The sewing machine will be humming along to the eclectic tunes of 89.1 and I will be in the zone.

Want to see what I am making?

Don't worry, I'll share~Rhonda

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Followed by Flurries

At first I thought my bleary eyes were deceiving me~But no, it was snow! Just a few flurries that melted instantly, but it was such a welcome site. Doesn't the sky look like cotton candy? =)

OK, enough about the weather, on to that Quiche Lorraine recipe I've been promising.

Let me start off by saying that while the recipe is very simple, it is the tools that make the difference here. A good egg beater makes whipping the batter until it is nice and fluffy much easier than doing it by hand with a fork. I also use a good think deep dish pie plate with a rim to protect the edge of the crust from burning. This way I do not have to cover the edges with foil.

OK let's get started.... first pre-heat your oven to 425F degrees. Then chop up 1/2 small onion, 3 or 4 mushrooms ( I used the baby bellas) and 4 slices of thick cut bacon (if you are using regular cut bacon, use 8 slices).

Next... saute' onions, mushrooms & bacon in a small amount of olive oil (you won't need much, since the bacon will soon be making its own grease). Add a bit of salt and pepper to your taste. Cook until the bacon is to your liking. For a quiche, I usually stop cooking before the bacon gets very crispy, but this is up to you. Don't for get to drain off the extra fat.
While this is cooking, you will need to bake your pie shell, 5 minutes in the hot oven should do it. I use the Pillsbury Pie Crusts, the ones you roll out and put in your own pan. I can make a fairly decent shell from scratch, but at 5:30 in the morning I am in no mood for that foolishness. You can also use the ready made shells just make sure you get the deep dish ones and place them in a pie plate during baking to insulate them. To keep the shell from puffing up during baking, prick the bottom and sides with a fork or if you have pie weights, use those.

Now it is time to assemble. Pour the bacon, onions and mushrooms into the pie shell while it is still hot. Then in a large mixing bowl combine 6 large eggs and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste. Using an egg beater or fork, whip up mixture until it is light and has lots of air bubbles in it. This step is important because it is the difference in having a fluffy light quiche or not. Pour the egg mixture over the bacon mixture ~ do not stir. Lastly, sprinkle 3/4 to 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese into the quiche ~ again, do not stir.

Now pop it into that hot oven and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until it is bubbled over and golden brown. Like this....

As the quiche cools, it will deflate. This is supposed to happen and just as a little warning, I would wait until it cools a bit to try and eat it. If not, you could really hurt yourself!

Of, course you could vary this recipe to your liking. You could put shallots, or chive instead of onions. You could add a little freshly ground nutmeg to your egg batter ( I think this is yummy, but my hubby and son do not. It depends on where you stand with nutmeg.) You could also change the type of meat and cheese, but then you wouldn't have a Quiche Lorraine you would have a Quiche Something else.... but that would be OK too.

If you have a question about the recipe, or if I have been unclear about something, just ask. I should be awake today, so I can answer you.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bailout Complete

It's 4 something in the morning and the rains have finally stopped. I can turn off the shop vac and close my eyes for an hour or so before it is time to get up and get going again.

But, boy, oh boy when I get back from taking my son to school, I am going to find this little kitty and snuggle up for a long winter's nap.

Quiche recipe tomorrow .... yawn ....for sure.... YAWWWNNN .... I promise.

Wishing you all pleasant dreams and dry feet~Rhonda

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bailout '09

So, there I was, blissfully going about my morning routine. I had just removed a beautiful Quiche Lorraine from the oven when...

I decided to take a little peek at the basement. We had very heavy rains all night long and our basement is not known for its water tightness....


I jolt Sweet Hubby from a dead sleep~

"She's taking on water Captain! Man the shop vac, throw down the old towels and newspapers. ALL HANDS ON DECK!!!"...

"What's that? What do you mean you have to go to work?"...

" Well, yes, I realize that one of us has to be the bread winner. And of course I am deeply grateful to be kept in Internet service and quiche fixings."...

"Oh, I am very certain that this is why people buy new houses and not leaky old dilapidated shacks." "But, remember why we bought this place?"...

"That's right, the cute little blonde in the living room waiting for me to give him a ride to school."

"I think we might be a bit late this morning."

"OK, are you leaving right now?"...

"Thanks for packing his bags and brushing over his hair. Will you make sure he is eating his quiche?"...

"Thanks, I love you, have a great day."...

"I know, don't worry, I'll be alright."

So far I have slurped up about 18 gallons of water.

With another one and a quarter inches of rain expected to fall before morning, could someone kindly toss me a life preserver and put on a pot of strong coffee? It looks like it's gonna be a long night. Oh, and that back ache medicine, what's it called? Yes, that's the one. I could really use some of that. Oh, you are such a doll! Thanks.

I'll post the recipe for the Quiche Lorraine tomorrow.

Lord willing and the creek don't rise... any higher. ~Rhonda

Monday, January 5, 2009

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Today I thought I would share one of my favorite salad recipes. I first had this at a Ryan's restaurant we have across town, I don't know if Ryan's is a national chain or just around here. Anyway, I make one variation to my salad. They toss in sunflower seeds.... I toss in Pomegranate seeds. I absolutely adore pomegranates, but I used to eat them only occasionally because preparing them meant that my hands would be stained for days by the juice, plus it was very time consuming picking out each seed.

Well along comes Martha Stewart (the domestic goddess) to save the day: just click on her picture to watch a video of the simplest and fastest way to open a pomegranate.

These are all the things you will need for the pomegranate~

And in less than 5 minutes, you will have this~
Now, to make the salad, you will need some freshly washed spinach leaves ( I prefer the baby spinach leaves), some sliced strawberries and red onion, pomegranate seeds and poppy seed dressing (I use the Naturally Fresh brand).

Toss them all together and ENJOY!

After you have eaten all your greens.... you might want to reward yourself with a nice slice of Chocolate Emergency cake, click here for the recipe ...

And by the way, the left over cake goes great with coffee the next morning ;-) Would anyone care for a slice?

Hope your day is a sweet one~Rhonda

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I'm an Audrey

You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me
* If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like
expectations or pressure (hummph ....well aren't I just sassy)
* I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this
* Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit (mind your manners, please)
* Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and
* Ask me questions to help me get clear
* Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery (well, who is?)
* Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings
* I like a good discussion but not a confrontation
* Let me know you like what I've done or said
* Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey
* being nonjudgmental and accepting
* caring for and being concerned about others
* being able to relax and have a good time
* knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around
* my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and
* my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now
* being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey
* being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive
* being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline
* being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the
mouth personally
* being confused about what I really want
* caring too much about what others will think of me
* not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often (yikes... a psychologist would have a field day with this one)
* feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant
* tune out a lot, especially when others argue (still true to this day)
* are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents
* are supportive, kind, and warm
* are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective (what?..who me!?... Nooo!)

As I was blog surfing the other day, I found a fun little personality assessment at HelloQuizzy. Funny how strangely accurate the descriptors are.

If you have a few minutes, hop over and take the test yourself, it is good for kicks and giggles.
Let me know how it turns out. ~Rhonda

Friday, January 2, 2009

"Hello Ollie"

Yesterday we were able to spend a little time outdoors and I took my camera out to get a few shots of my chickens as they scratched around. I would like to introduce you to Oliver or Ollie for short. He is our new King of the roost~Just a few short months ago he was this tiny little chick I could hold in my hand and now he is a beautiful mature Rooster.

Ollie is the little dark chick near the top of the photo. Such a cute little peeper:-)
A few weeks ago I lost 6 of my flock to a vicious dog attack. I was devastated! Among the ones that perished was Henry, my almost 3 year old Rooster~

Henry and I had something of a love/hate relationship. I had to be on constant guard with him because he had flogged me several times. At those times, with my legs in such pain, I could have killed him myself.... But I didn't... because I respected the fact that it was his job to challenge all who entered his flock. He was the protector of the hens and I admired him for doing his job so well. He died defending the girls and for that I owe him a debt of gratitude.

The remaining hens are adjusting to their new leader. They don't "flock" (pardon the pun) to him the way they did Henry, but he is still young and in time will make a wonderful leader as well.

In addition to taking pictures of Ollie and the girls, I photographed my newest creation~

A pedestal to support the bird bath my Aunt Sherry gave me for Christmas. I used a couple of large trunk sections from the tree that fell on our coop area back in October. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Thanks Aunt Sherry! I love the bird bath and can hardly wait to watch the birds play in it this Spring.

I hope everyone's New Year is off to a great start! ~Rhonda

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ringing in 2009

I must admit that I was sound asleep when 2009 was ushered in. I drifted off to the sound of fireworks over the lake. Heaven only knows how long the party goers revelled out there in the 20 degree temps, but I was perfectly content to celebrate New Year's in my dreams.
I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas....we had such a good time visiting with family. We celebrated with lots of Reindeer Games~

We were fortunate enough to be visited by not one but two Santas this year :-)

And of course there were Angels all around as we remembered the true reason for this wonderful season...

Yesterday, as I talked to my son about the up coming New Year, he expressed sadness when he realized that 2008 was going and would never return. Even at 6 he senses the bitter sweetness of the passage of time. I told him not to worry over the time that was gone, that we had a wonderful year and we talked of some of the best highlights and the fun things that the year had brought us. Then we talked of the year to come... the events we were looking forward to and the fun still to be had.
I hope I helped him to focus on the hope for the New Year and the promise that the days still to come hold. For at its simplest that is what time offers us~ memories of events, joys, love and sadness that have already transpired and tantalizing thoughts of what we are yet to behold.

Happy New Year my friends! May it be a year filled with the fondest of memories~Rhonda