Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Random Hearts Find a Home

Paige bit into the center of her bun and left this cute little heart cut-out. She ALWAYS insists that I
take a picture when she discovers a heart, and many times if it's a man-made heart I don't
really want to bother. Thanks to her persistence, I'm ALWAYS glad I did!

Found the above two rock hearts on a trail in Cuyamuca Rancho State Park,
Paseo Picacho Campground in October 2011.

Found this shadow heart on the road after a hike in Julian.
Gotta be quick to catch hearts like this...still waiting for that
cloud heart to make itself known!

My son Scott brought this rock back from Boy Scout Camp
at the Outdoor Education Center where he was a volunteer...
sssshhhh....don't tell!

Makena found this blob of paint one day while her and Paige were painting.
Even the kids friends are on the lookout for hearts. I love this hobby!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reaching New Heights

I started this painting 3 or 4 months ago hoping to give it to a dear friend for her Birthday. Not liking the outcome too much, I decided to redo only the top half of the painting because I really love how the trees at the bottom turned out...the two trees on top, not so much! 

"Reaching New Heights"
24 x 30 Acrylic, marker, assorted papers on canvas

This is the final piece, finished the day before her birthday. The photo quality is poor...I just couldn't eliminate that darn light reflection. I'm much happier with the two focal trees, but everything turned out a bit darker than I would have liked. It was a fun experiment and I had fun painting it.

Close-up of lower trees.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Marine Thanksgiving

This year our family was honored to have two of America's Finest Marines join us for a very special Thanksgiving. Pvt. Michael Ranft from Michigan and PFC Roberto Mijares from Missouri who are stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, thousands of miles away from their families. Through the Adopt-A-Marine program, 500 Marines spent the Holiday with families in Southern California. Both Marines just completed Basic Training and recently arrived at Pendleton to complete their Marine Combat Training.

We picked them up from the base about 9 o'clock in the morning, which was the first time they had left the base or seen the ocean, since they've been here. My sister and her family joined us and we spent the day learning about Marine life and the life they left behind, hearing funny stories, and their plans for the future. We also enjoyed lots of food, football, video games, more food and just relaxing. The guys were in no hurry to get back to the base, so they stayed till the very last minute, took the 30 minute drive back to the base so they could enjoy about 1 more hour of liberty. They were very grateful for a Family Thanksgiving, even if it wasn't their own, and a little taken back that strangers would take them into their homes for the day. We enjoyed having them very much and plan to make this our new Thanksgiving tradition. Below are a few more pictures from our fabulous Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taco Skillet

Taco Skillet
A quick meal that's sure to please everyone!

1 lb.  ground beef
1 can  condensed tomato soup (10.75 oz.)
½ cup  salsa
1 packet  taco seasoning (or 1-2 tablespoons Tex-Mex Spice Mix)
½ cup  water
6  corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup  cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream
green onions

Cook beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until browned; drain. Stir in soup, salsa, taco seasoning, water and tortillas; heat to boiling and then reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes; stirring occasionally. Add cheese to skillet and melt.  Serve topped with sour cream, onions and cilantro. Serves 5

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spicy Meatball Stroganoff

I took the summer off and didn't cook dinner due to our hectic swim schedule. We survived on burgers, dogs, quesadilla, burritos and quick meals from Trader Joe's. I've now gotten back into the swing of cooking for may family and have a backlog of recipes to post. Here's the first one I know you will enjoy.
Spicy Meatball Stroganoff
Cayenne pepper adds a little spiciness to this recipes and the premade meatballs make it quick!
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 T. vegetable oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. butter
¼ cup dry white wine or cooking sherry
2 T.  flour
2 cups   chicken broth
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp.  dry mustard, ground
1 tsp.   thyme
½ tsp. marjoram
1 cup  cream
28 precooked beef meatballs
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, sauté onion, garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper in oil until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine to skillet and simmer until liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and stir; add chicken broth, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, and marjoram and simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in sour cream, meatballs and desired amount of cooked noodles; stir and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4-5
Note: 1 cup sliced mushrooms can be added; sauté first in skillet with 1 T. oil until browned, remove and then cook onions as recipe directs (I don't like mushrooms).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Focus Problem?...Who Me?

This week I gathered up all my half finished paintings and was quite surprised by the quantity? I seem to start energetically and then either get too busy to finish or get distracted by another technique or idea and move on. By the time I get back to each painting, I've forgotten the direction I was going with it or can't remember what colors I was using and just get frustrated, starting the cycle over by beginning a new painting. Thus my accumulation of half-baked ideas!


Then to add to the problem...I got a part-time job working at Michael's. I really enjoy helping customers with their projects and get fueled-up by all the crafty stuff I get to see and play with. On the down side...I have less time to paint since most of my extra time is now spent catching up on life. And did I mention that my children are NOT too keen on Mom being gone and not able to do everything for them?

So for now, I'll keep working on finding balance between my domestic responsibilities, working and painting. Wish me luck!