Monday, January 30, 2012

Mmmmmm, chili!

I discovered my two new favorite ingredients from the grocery store Ro-Tel and El Pato tomato sauce. I now keep my pantry stock with several cans of each. So far I have used them in burritos, enchiladas and chili. I am sure I will find even more recipes to use them in. I love making chili in the winter time and thankfully my hubby loves to eat it. It's probably one of the few meals I could make every week and he doesn't mind eating it so often. My favorite chili recipe is from The Pioneer Woman's cook book. At this point it is the best chili I have ever made. She doesn't add the El Pato to her's but I decided to try and add it to mine and it is so good. It makes it just a little bit more spicy. She serves her's with Frito's and I decided to give that a try and it is very yummy. Even better the whole thing is gluten, dairy and egg free which makes it a perfect meal for me. I love it when I find something we all can eat and I don't have to make something separate for myself. I really wish I could share the recipe with you but I am pretty sure that would be breaking a copyright law of some kind so all I can do is encourage you to buy her book. Or you can just come over to my house for dinner and I will make it for you! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More crazy weather...

A huge windstorm blew through last night. The wind kept me awake but I did eventually fall asleep only to be woken by a huge gust of wind along with a huge crash. It was so loud I was sure a tree had come down. When I looked out the back window I saw that the back fence had been blown into the neighbors yard! Needless to say we have been having some crazy weather here in the Northwest. My hubby had the day off and Josh, our neighbor, took the day off from work so they are both out there right now working to get the fence back up. The people who lived here before put the fence in but didn't do a very good job. The main posts in the ground weren't put into cement but just in the dirt so they eventually rotted away. No wonder the fence blew over last night. Rue and Josh are doing it right this time. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Very Good Idea...

I saw this idea on Pinterest for salads. I put a homemade balsamic vinaigrette in the bottom. Then some cut up mushrooms, grape tomatoes, then the lettuce. I put a small handful of sunflower seeds on top, you can't see them in the picture. Since the lettuce is on top then it won't get soggy in the dressing. I made up a bunch of these and put them in the fridge. When I am making Rue's work lunch I can just grab one out of the fridge and add it to his lunch. It's so nice to just pull one out of the fridge and dump it on a plate and enjoy. :) They will keep in the fridge up to four days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snowy Weather 2...

Well, this has been quite the week. A huge winter storm blew through Washington leaving massive amounts of snow and ice. The icicles are hanging from my parents' porch. If you can believe it they actually got much longer than this, reaching to almost the bottom of the windows!

This is the pond at my parents', so pretty!

Tuesday night Daniel, Daisy and I headed over to my parents' house in case of a power outage since they have a generator and a wood stove and we have neither.

Daniel loves to help my mom do the dishes. She puts a little blob of soap bubbles on the counter and he rubs them all around. Sometimes he puts them in his hand and then claps his hands showering himself and my mom (and me) with suds.

Daniel even helped my dad fold the laundry. He is such a good little helper. I hope I do a good job of encouraging his helpful spirit. My dad would shake out the towels before folding them. Daniel was very good at doing it like Grampa. :)

Shortly after this Daniel came down with a cold and had a fever and was my little cuddle-bug for a couple of days. And alas, he passed the sickies onto me. Now I have a monster sore throat, the chills and aches.

Even though I have really enjoyed all the snow this week I am looking forward to this next week and getting back into our regular routine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowy weather...

It has been snowing here and it is suppose to snow for a couple more days. I am loving this winter weather! I wish it was like this all winter long. Daniel was so excited to see the snow when he woke up yesterday morning. I took him outside for a little while. We played in the front yard and then took a little walk around the block. Every bird we saw was a "snow bird" according to Daniel.

It snowed some more last night and this morning Rue took Daniel out to build a snowman.

Not sure what they ended up building but they sure had fun doing it. Daniel saw something shiny and lost his focus. :)

We are suppose to get dumped on again tonight and tomorrow so we are heading over to my parents' now just in case. They have a generator and a wood stove if the power ends up going out. It wouldn't be very fun to be stuck here with no power and no heat. Maybe it will come to nothing but I would rather be safe than sorry. Plus it's always fun to spend the night at my parents'. :)

Baked Chicken and Fennel with Shallots

I just recently started cooking with fennel. It is in season right now and I am trying to cook more in season. I love the fresh anise smell when I am slicing it and the flavor really mellows when roasted. The roasted shallots are pretty scrumptious too. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart. In her recipe she adds apples but I left them out simply because I didn't feel like adding them. :)

Click here for the recipe. It is such a quick and easy recipe, it's a perfect weeknight meal. I also baked some Yukon Gold potatoes to go with.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cookies with Momma

Daniel sure gets excited when I make cookies. When he saw me getting the mixer ready this morning he pushed a chair over to the counter and climbed on up. I let him stir up the dry ingredients while I am mixing up the wet. There is nothing like baking cookies with my little man and snow falling down outside. Where did I put the Christmas decorations? :)

Note his little Starbucks apron. Momma wears one just like it when she makes coffee for people. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Into the sunset...

On Friday we decided to spend a little time outside. It was FREEZING cold but it was so great to be out in the fresh air. We bundled up and headed out. One of our favorite places to walk is the Chamber's Creek Trail. They recently put in a big playground which we are all very excited about.

We started the walk kind of late in the afternoon so the sun was going down. The sunset was gorgeous.
We saw maybe five trains go by on our walk which sure made Daniel a happy little guy. I really wish I had an updated camera for this picture.

Afterwards Rue took us to a Vietnamese Pho restaurant that he had discovered. A hot bowl of delicious Pho sure hit the spot after a walk in the cold.

Good job Daddy!

Rue decided to put a little plate over the power outlet in Daniel's room because, surprise surprise, Daniel thought it was fun to stick things in it.

Daniel wanted to help Daddy and Rue was more than happy to have his little helper join him. Rue is always ready to have Daniel with him when he is working on things around the house. He wants his little guy to know how to do these things when he grows up and his on his own. That's one of the many reasons why I love that man.

*GASP* Don't worry, about two halves of a millisecond after I took the picture I had grabbed the screwdriver out of his hand. Just one of the many reasons why we had to cover the outlet. :)

Here is a little video of Daniel helping Daddy. "Good job Daddy!" . Call me a puddle of mush on the floor. :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Zombie Spiders!

I hate spiders. I hate zombies. Here's how the two became combined in my world.

There has been a spider living in the corner of my bathroom ceiling for a while now. I left him alone mainly because he stayed in that corner and I couldn't reach him to mush him with a tissue. He left me alone, I left him alone. It was a mutual agreement.

Well, one morning that spider was not in his specified corner. I soon discovered that he had violated the terms of our agreement and had traveled down from his corner close to the floor. Sorry dude, you must die. He was then mushed into a tissue and thrown in the garbage. Or so I thought!

Rewind a little bit. My hubby has been trying forever to get me to watch the show The Walking Dead. If you haven't already guessed, it's about zombies. As stated before I hate zombies. This is not just, "I think they are gross and would prefer not to watch them.". This is a loathing all out fear of them. I could watch 5 minutes of a zombie movie and have nightmares all night. No joke! I hate them.

Well, somehow my hubby got me hooked on The Walking Dead. The storyline is very intriguing. Too bad they can't just leave the zombies out. You know, just refer to them without actually showing them. Hey, I'd watch it. So my viewing of the show is pretty much me keeping my face behind the laptop during the zombie scenes. It works pretty good.

Fast forward back to the mushed spider. The next morning I was getting ready for work and who do I see? The spider. But he is no longer a normal spider. He is limping along with two of his legs broken, kind of swerving to and fro just like... a ZOMBIE! Now not only do I have a spider to deal with now I have a ZOMBIE spider. Two of the things I hate most in the world and now the two are combined. Dude, not cool! And before I could grab some tissue to try and re-mush him he limped his way under the bathroom door. I opened it and he was nowhere to be seen. Oh, great! Now I have a zombie spider on the loose going and turning all the other spiders in my house into zombie spiders!

Visitors beware, the Dannells' house has zombie spiders.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Totally real life...

For those who don't know my hubby works at Fred Meyer. In fact that is how we met. I worked at the Vista Optical inside the Fred Meyer store Rue was working at. He saw the cute little dispensing optician behind the counter, asked her out to coffee and the rest is history. :)

I came across this picture online and it sure made me giggle. It's now my profile picture on Facebook. :)

Daniel's new car...

My son pulled this empty basket out of the spare room the other day. He discovered that he is able to fit inside it, just barely. First it was his boat but then he decided it's his car and that is what is has remained. He sure keeps me giggling. :)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Highly recommended...

I sure have been enjoying my new Pioneer Woman cookbook. I bought it for myself for Christmas. Since I received it I have cooked four of the recipes from it and so far each one has been a hit! I am a gluten-free girl so a couple I have not been able to eat myself but my hubby sure liked them and that's good enough for me.

I have cooked her Meatloaf, Chicken Spaghetti (made with leftover holiday turkey), Perfect Pot Roast, and Simple, Perfect Chili. (Plus a bunch I have made off her website.) And I'm not done yet. I plan on cooking as many of the recipes in this book as I can.

She has a lot of beautiful pictures of ranch life in the cookbook which makes it an enjoyable book just to flip through even when you are not cooking.

Her newest cookbook comes out in March. I can't wait!

Yay for good food! :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Why I love where I live...

If I had known this is what Mt. Rainier was going to look like this morning I would have packed Daniel in the car and found a good spot to see it. This is why I love living here! God is amazing! The picture is from this article from Komo News.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Lookie what I found...

I came across Norajane on Etsy today and I have to say I am in love with her stamps!! They are some of the cutest stamps I have ever seen!

I had to purchase a couple. They are really inexpensive and did I mention how cute they are!

I purchased the Tree Trio and the Deer Siblings.

The theme of the cards I create is "simply sweet". I am pretty
sure these stamps will help me with that theme. I can't wait to purchase more of her stamps. I will have a little preview up soon of what you will be able to find in my Etsy shop opening in March.

Norajane's pillows are pretty cute too. :)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone! I know this is a curious picture for a New Year's post but this is how I rang in the New Year, nice and serene. No big fireworks or champagne at my one woman party. (And I would much rather be wherever this picture is than in a huge crowd of people.) My hubby had to work last night and he works 3 to midnight (if not later), Daisy went to spend the night at my parents' and of course little Daniel (2 1/2 years) was in bed at his usual bedtime of 7pm. Even I did not stay up to midnight. I was up at 4:30 yesterday morning to go work my morning shift at Starbucks so needless to say staying up to midnight really didn't sound appealing. And it's really no secret that I am far from a party animal. I turn into mush about 7pm. I am happy morning person. Hence the ability be up around 4 in the morning and serve latte's to people. :)

The past year has been a very shaping one in my life. The Lord used some very difficult circumstances to cause me to rely on Him more and to teach me more obedience to His will for me as a wife and mom. I have to say it has been the toughest year of my life but at the same time I have found much more true peace and joy in my soul and I thank the Lord for that. I still have a long way to go but I know He is not through with me yet. I am looking forward to what the new year has in store.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year's!!