Mexican Stars

I bought these 3-D stained glass stars in Mexico when we were visiting Pat's parents in Yuma. That was probably 3 or 4 years ago. They have sat in a bowl gathering dust ever since. A couple of them were damaged a little on the way home, and I finally asked my brother to fix them a few months before he went on his mission. He did, then they went back in the bowl and sat for a while longer.
I finally got around to hanging them in my window, which was the plan when I brought them home so long ago. The butterfly is something my sister made in junior high and gave to me. They make my kitchen a little happier. I just hope the cats don't decide to play with them.

Eclair Pie

I had a couple requests for the Eclair pie recipe, so here it is:


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix

  • 2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons hot water

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, heat butter and water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and reduce heat to low. Cook and stir until it forms a ball and pulls away from the pan. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  3. Spread in bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan (also can use 2 9-in pie pans). Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 35 minutes (about 20 minutes for pie pans). Cool completely.
  4. For the icing, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and pour into baked shell.
  5. To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk and beat until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat until thickened. Spread over chocolate in cooled shell.
  6. Mix whipping cream, confectioners sugar, and vanilla until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over filling.
  7. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the top.

Christmas Decorations

I told myself I wasn't going to put up Christmas decorations this year. I spent all my birthday and Christmas money in California, and Pat got a fancy SLR camera. That was Christmas. We knew what we were getting, so getting all my decorations out didn't seem worth the trouble.

Then while shopping the last week I found some ornaments I liked. The only ornaments we've had in the past are ones we made as kids. To be perfectly honest, some of them are pretty ugly, and they've all seen better days. So I bought the new ornaments (plastic, so the cats won't break them). Since I had new ornaments, I figured I had to put Christmas up. (See Dad, I'm not a Scrooge!)

I didn't pull out EVERYTHING, but I did put up the tree and stockings. Pat put up the outside lights. Only half as much as we have done in the past, but it works.

That was going to be it, but then my sister gave me these cute glass things that are supposed to be candle holders, but are really just giant bowls on stems. I remembered this post from Thrifty Decor Chick a while back, and how cute all of her "glass things to put stuff in" looked. I decided to put mine out and spruce them up for Christmas, and this is what came out:


I just realized it's been a week since I posted last. I'm trying not to be a slacker - just busy lately I guess. I promised photos of our California trip, so click here to finally see them.

Also, here's a photo of the Christmas apron I received in my swap:

And a picture on the apron I won from KnittieBitties:

And finally, a picture of the eclair pie I made for Emma's birthday:

Bookworm Tag

Playing along with Musings of the Mindless Banterer today.

Here is how to play:

1. Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment.

2. Turn to page 56....

3. Write out the fifth sentence, as well as the two to five sentences following.

"Chameleon and the mare Imbrium are here for advice," the Gorgon said deferentially. "You have them on your calendar."

"I never pay attention to that bit of paper!" the Good Magician grumped. "I'm too busy." But he looked at a chart on the wall. There, in large letters, was the note FAIR & MARE. "Oh, yes, certainly," he grumbled. "Well, let's get on with it."

I cheated a little and added an extra sentence. It was the last one in the paragraph, and it looked so lonely! This is from the book I am currently reading, Night Mare by Piers Anthony.

Vacation - Monday

Monday we decided on a one day road-trip down to San Francisco. Neither one of us has ever been there. The drive took an hour and a half, but it was really pretty. The rolling hills and green trees were beautiful. We drove over the Bay bridges and finally got there. It looks just like what you see in pictures and TV, but seems so much bigger in person.

Driving around town trying to find parking was crazy. The streets are so steep, and half of them are one-way only. Plus you end up driving on the trolley tracks sometimes. We finally parked at the Pier 39 parking garage (only $7/hr!). We walked around that pier for a while and saw the sealions. Then we headed down towards Fisherman's Wharf.

We went our on the pier with all the old restored ships and looked at those for a while. That pier is right next to the Aquatic Park. There were a few sailboats out there, but mostly there was people swimming out to the breakwater and back. Crazy! It's the end of November! Everyone was walking around in jackets and people are still swimming in the ocean. I saw a few sealions swimming with them as well.

After that we stopped for a snack of Ben & Jerry's. Then we decided to go shopping. They have an H&M which I have always wanted to go to. We walked all the way there (way too far uphill - never doing that again!) through Chinatown. It was very interesting to see all the little shops with ducks hanging in the window. For a while, we were the only white people on the street.

We finally got to the market disctrict. We went to H&M and spent at least two hours there. I spent pretty much all my Christmas money on clothes, but it was wonderful! Even Pat got a couple of shirts. We really need to get one in Salt Lake.

After we were then we walked past the designer stores. We stopped and went inside Tiffany's and looked at the sparklies that cost more than we'll make in our lifetimes. We didn't touch anything. We also stopped and looked at Williams Sonoma, where I drooled over kitchen items that I also can't afford. The store was four stories high and filled with all kinds of good stuff. There was a whole wall of La Creuset cookware that I really want, but a frying pan was over $200.

At that point we were pretty shopped out, and our feet were killing us. We hopped on a trolley and rode back to Fisherman's wharf. We went back to the car to drop off all our purchases, then went back to Pier 39 for dinner. We ate at the Fog Harbor Fish House. It was nice and we sat at a table with a view over the water. Pat got to eat his fresh crab, and I had a hamburger because I still can't bring myself to eat seafood.

After dinner we got back in the car and headed home, with a few detours on the way. We drove down the twisty part of Lomard Street, then we went over the Golden Gate bridge. It probably took us a little longer to get back, but it was worth it. Plus we didn't have to pay another toll at the Bay bridge.

All in all, it was a really nice day. We'll have to go back again to see everything we missed. I'm sure there was a lot.

Vacation - Sunday

Sunday we drove the rest of the way to Sacramento. We got to my grandma's house and unloaded the car. Then we went to visit some friends in Folsom. One goes to school in San Jose, and had to leave the next morning. Otherwise, we would have waited a day or so before we saw them.

We talked for a while, then decided to get out of the house. We went and walked around Trader Joe's because I had heard a lot about that store, but we don't have any in Utah. I don't really feel like I'm missing anything now. We walked around a couple other stores, and found a present for my sister-in-law's birthday that is coming up.

Then we went out to dinner at BJ's, a local brewery. They had really good food, and Pat said his beer was so good that it tasted like a milkshake.

Vacation - Saturday

Sorry I don't have any pictures today - I'll post them when I get home. We are in Sacramento visiting family for Thanksgiving.

Saturday we drove to Reno and spent the night at a friend's house. We were really glad that we didn't have to drive the whole way to Sacramento in one day. Reno was far enough.

The cops in Nevada have come up with a plan to make more money. There were probably a dozen spots on I-80 saying that they were contruction zones and that fines were doubled, but no actual construction taking place. Sometimes there were a few token orange barrels, but usually it just looked like any other stretch of freeway. There were people pulled over in at least half of those spots, and I'm sure they were paying double fees for being in a "construction" zone.

Our friend had a crazy cat that would come rub on your leg then bite you if you tried to pet it. I told Pat that he has it pretty good with our cats.

We went out to dinner at the Atlantis Casino. They had an italian restaurant there that was pretty good, but they were SO SLOW! It took two hours to get our food & eat. The waitor was awful. He refilled half empty water glasses with Sprite and brought me coffee gelato (yuck!) instead of caramel.

I received my aprons yesterday!

I received my apron swap package in the mail yesterday. Thank you Grace! I must be a pretty lucky girl. I requested a fun apron that would work for all year because I only have one other apron. Grace must have decided that I still needed a holiday apron because she made me TWO! Here's a picture of everything I borrowed from her website. My camera battery was dead last night.

Grace has 4 cats so she's a kitty-mama too! She also has a way cool collection of old mixers. Check out her blog!


I am so excited today! I just found out that I won a contest in our apron swap, and I get a free custom apron from Knitty Bitties!! They are so dang cute and I get to pick my own fabrics! Here's an example:
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Finished Apron for Swap

I got busy this weekend and made my whole apron. I really like how it turned out!

My mom and sister helped me pick out fabric and trim, and then my mom helped me figure out how to put it all together. I freehanded the beaded designs, but I think they turned out really nice.

I got the pattern out of this book:

It has a bunch more really cute designs!

Annual Halloween Party 2008

Saturday was a pretty busy day for us because we had the Halloween party that day as well as the pumpkin shoot. Almost everyone came in costume. They were all cute! Here's me being the Mad Scientist for the evening:

In between the pumpkin shoot and the party I was busy whipping up some culinary magic.

I made:

Pumpkin Cupcakes - I actually made these on Thursday. I made one batch as the recipe states, then added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the next batch. They plain ones were good, but the chocolate made them fantastic! I also used this Cream Cheese Frosting.

Caramel Popcorn - This turned out a little crunchy. I will probably cook it less next time, but it was still yummy.

Maple Cinnamon Fritters - These tasted good, but were a pain to make. Also, the powdered sugar topping got everywhere. Probably will not make again.

Cheddar Beer Fondue - I followed the first receipe on the page, but use a bottle of hefewizen instead of alpine lager, and medium cheddar instead of the old Canadian cheddar. It turned out really tasty and it was the only thing that was completely gone at the end of the night. We cut up some rolls I got at the store and some granny smith apples for dipping. It was a hit!

Annual Pumpkin Shoot 2008

Saturday we went up the mountain in Avon for the annual pumpkin shoot. We always have it the weekend after Halloween so we can get rid of those leftover pumpkins in a safe and humane way. It's always lots of fun, and it was a wonderful warm(ish) day for it this year.

Click on the photo above to go to an album with all the photos I took.

We didn't actually have any pumpkins this year, so at 11:00 Friday night we were at Dan's Market and bought their last 9 very sad looking pumpkins for $10. The night manager looked happy to be rid of them, and we got a pretty good deal.

Save Pushing Daisies!

I know there are lots of you out there that watch this show. It is my absolute favorite show on TV right now (at least until Battlestar Galactica comes back). It is in danger of being canceled.

If you love this show as much as I do, please click on the link below and help try to save the show!


I decided that I had better start organizing the hundreds of digital photos I have on my computer. I downloaded Google's Picasa so I can organize, edit, and tag all my photos. It's a pretty neat little program. I got a lot done today - about 384 photos tagged - but I still have several hundred to go.

I only stopped because my hands were tired of typing, pointing, and clicking.

Next on the list is getting a backup system going, since the old backup computer up and died on us a while ago.

I suppose I ought to try and organize a few physical things around the house too, but mentally it's nice to know I worked on SOMETHING at least.

Flirty Apron Swap

I'm all signed up for my first ever swap! My mom's been doing these for years with ornaments, quilt blocks, hooked rugs, etc. I just never thought there would be one I was interested in. I'm very excited!

If you're interested, sign-up ends Friday, October 24th, so hurry!

Halloween Costume

I am trying to come up with something cheap and easy for Halloween this year. I have a small stash of costumes at home, but most of them have been worn in the last few years. I have:

Wonder Woman
Black Catsuit
Long Black Wig
White Lab Coat
Military Uniform (green wool)

I was thinking that a corpse bride type thing would be cool if I can find an old wedding dress at a thrift store (I'm probably too late for that). I was also thinking of doing something with the lab coat; mad scientist, butcher, etc.

Any good ideas out there?

Cleaning the Boat

Saturday morning we finally got around to cleaning out the boat for winter. I know it was raining and snowing Saturday, but we aren't crazy. We took the boat to Pat's work where it lives all winter in their heated warehouse and cleaned it there.

It took several hours longer than we thought it would, and we still have to protect the vinyl, antioxidize the paint, and wax it (maybe some other weekend, or Pat can do it at work if they're slow and don't have anything else to do).

It was nice being able to work inside, but running around the floor of a warehouse with bare wet feet caused some problems.

This is what our feet looked like. We had to clean them every time we got into the boat, or else we just got it all dirty again.

We also had to watch where we stepped because there were hornets all over the floor. They had apparently started to build nests up a couple of the drainage spouts. As soon as we got water in the boat it pushed them out and onto the floor.

We tried to vacuum them all up so they didn't decide to build nests in the warehouse. Hopefully we got them all.

Cutest Cake Ever!

I just got done making a birthday cake for my brother-in-law. He loves four-wheeling (like us) and so I decided to make him a four-wheeling cake. I have to say, it's my favorite cake yet!!

Frozen Charlottes

We were watching a show last night... well, not so much watching as it was just playing in the background while we picked a new show to watch off the DVR. Something caught my ear, so we backed up to watch.

It was a show about ships they had found in San Francisco while they were digging a foundation for a new building. Apparently sometime in the past the city had sunk old worn out ships and buried them to add new land mass because the city was growing so large.

Several of the ships they found still had some items inside them. One of them contained some dolls called Frozen Charlottes.

I did some research because I had never heard of them before. Apparently they were THE dolls to have in the mid 19th century. All this time and I never knew!

Time for Change

It's that time again - I've got the itch for change. Nothing major, mind you. I just want to rearrange something, somewhere. Mostly my bedroom.

The problem is that there are only two walls that my bed will fit on due to door placement, and one of those walls has a window that I don't really want to cover with my headboard. That leaves me with only one option: the wall the bed is already on.

The recliner is in our room because there isn't any room in the living room, but we want to keep it around for when the basement is done. The giant blue thing is the dog bed. You enter the room bottom right. Top right is the closet, and top middle is the bathroom. Please tell me if you have any brilliant ideas!

I seem to be gathering quite the list of things I would like to change about my house, but moving isn't an option for the foreseeable future. I'll just have to add it to my mental new house wish list.

Paying Off Debt

A while back I decided that we probably ought to be tracking our money a little better. I starting reading a lot of articles about money online, and stumbled upon some articles by M. P. Dunleavey that talked about the Women in Red. They were a small group of women talking to each other about money and trying to pay off debt.

There is an associated MSN Money message board where anyone can join in the discussions. I started out just lurking (reading without posting or participating in any way), and finally decided to join the Women in Red Racers (WIRR). They are a group of women from all over the country who are "racing" against themselves to pay off their debt.

They are all amazingly supportive! They have great ideas about saving money and will cheer with you in the good times or cheer for you in the bad. Please stop by if it's something you're interested in.


Last winter my sister and I took some cake decorating classes at Michael's. Since then I've made quite a few cakes, mostly to keep myself in practice. It's a lot of fun, but it's a lot of work to be doing on the side. I have a Flickr account set up with pictures of all my cakes. I'll share future cakes as I make them, but in the meantime please take a look!



Last week Patrick and I decided it was about time to make more salsa. Last year we made a bunch of salsa, mostly mild stuff and a little hot stuff. We apparently like the hot stuff better because the last jar is in the fridge and we still have lots of mild left. All we need to do this year is replace the hot stuff.

Saturday we drove up to the fruitway in Perry. We stopped at a couple roadside stands and bought all the fixin's we needed. Sunday morning we got to chopping, stirring and canning. It ended up taking twelve hours total, but we made 41 pints. Let's just hope it was worth all the coughing, sneezing, sniffling and crying over hot peppers and onions.


1/3 bushel of tomatoes (24 cups)
8 small purple onions (6 cups)
1 whole garlic + 3 cloves
2/3 bunch cilantro
3 large bell peppers (2 cups)
5 anaheim peppers (1 cup)
4 cayenne peppers (1/2 cup)
20 jalapeno peppers (2 1/2 cups)
30 serrano peppers (1 cup)
1/4 cup salt
1.85 cups apple cider vinegar (I just guessed on this one - its supposed to be 5%)

Each batch made about 14 pints.

I spent about $60 on all the supplies, so it cost less than $1.50 per jar! If I ever get my garden going next year, hopefully it will be almost free.

It's Begun

After reading Emma's blog (Musings of the Mindless Banterer) and hearing her talk about it at work incessantly since she started it, I decided I can probably handle this.

This morning, my mom also made a comment that I should start a blog after seeing a photo I took, so here it goes!