January 29, 2008

Crazy weather in Wisconsin

Its one of the wackiest winters I've seen in a long time as January brought us a weird combination of weather to Wisconsin -- including fog, record warmth, bitter cold, snowstorms and tornadoes.

Near blizzard conditions are predicted for tonight as winter storm warnings go into effect this afternoon. With winds coming in 50 mile gusts, temperatures will drop about 65 degrees (this morning it was near 40 degrees - and tonight we're expecting -30 degrees with the winds)

The rain has already started to change over to snow. It will be a fun drive home tonight.....but in my new Element - I say bring it on! (picked up my new car last night, it's so awesome!)

January 28, 2008

My first (and probably) last quilt

Here's my first quilt top that I finally finished. I started the darn thing in 1996. I seem to remember getting all gun-ho about making a quilt - I had no real plan, I just bought a bunch of kinda matching fabrics, stitched together 10 panels got fed up and put it way.

So this weekend and 12 years later, I pulled out the unfinished quilt top and enough pre-cut pieces to finish something. So I started sewing, and ironing away. I don't know the name of the pattern I created, I don't know how to finish it off, and I learned that I still don't know a thing about quilting at all.

I'm hoping some quilters in the family can help me attach this topper to the rest of the stuff that makes a finished quilt

January 27, 2008

Carne Asada - Wisconsin style

We have a dying freezer. The 15-year old freezer in the sub-zero garage is now warmer than the outside air. What do you do with 100 lbs of venison? Well a couple of things, we cleaned out the inside freezer and made room for the meat and we started cooking.

I got inspired to make Carne Asada. This is just a mexican marinade for meat that is then pan-seared or grilled. The marinade is made of garlic, roasted chili pepper, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Make the marinade and stick a flank or skirt steak (or venison if you're like me) and let it sit for an hour or so. Then throw the meat in a cast iron skillet and sizzle away.
And because I was being lazy inventative and didn't have any store-bought tortillas, I made those too.

January 26, 2008

A new E for the Mama!

This is what happens when you make friends with your car salesman. He emailed me on Thursday to let me know that my favorite color had just come in and did he have a great deal for me! Here's a quick photo I took of the car when I went out to the lot, test drove the car and brought it on the spot. So I'm upgrading my 2006 Honda Element for a brand new kiwi-green 2008 Honda Element. The new "E" has everything that I should have purchased two years ago - all-wheel drive, roof rack, trailer hitch and believe it or not - automatic transmission. I love the "E" don't get me wrong, but the front-wheel drive only was a bit under-powered in Wisconsin winters. The biggest reason I love this car is that it is totally dog-proofed. With rubber flooring, it's a cinch to clean. I tell Teiko to "bring on the mud".

January 22, 2008

Winter Orchids

I've been collecting and growing orchids for years now. The orchids I have the most luck with (re-blooming and thriving) are with phalaenopsis orchids. These are the most common type of orchids with thousands of different varieties. Fortunately I only have about 15 of them.

One of my favorite things is to have an orchid re-bloom. a few of our orchids are now five or more years old. About once a year, the orchids will re-flower if their roots are healthy, the plant is happy and there is a certain amount of daylight vs. darkness. It's like having a visit from an old friend.

The orchids pictured above I received for my birthday this year except for the last two pictures. The half open flower with the yellow and red lines is a re-bloomer from last year. It just opened this morning. There are six other orchids from last year that are in various stages of re flowering. I can't wait!!!!

As you can probably tell - it doesn't take much more than a flower to make me happy (well, at least briefly...)

January 21, 2008

-31 Below Zero - Wisconsin Style

Just got a picture emailed to me from Uncle Bear. He took this photo over the weekend from the dash of his truck showing a whopping -31 degrees in Mauston. I guess he beats my entries from earlier in the week.

Holy buckets! - it was a cold weekend.

A Packer Loss

The hopes of millions of Packer fans for a third trip to the Super Bowl were dashed last night as the NY Giants kicked a 47-yard field goal in overtime to win the NFC Conference Championship game 23-20. Todd got back home around 2:30 am this morning. The few words I heard were "Cold" "Rigged" and "Cold". Above is a picture of Todd during the game. The tickets were on the 17 yardline about 15 rows up. Looks like great seats. I sent my camera along with Todd and Peter to record the day. Here's a gallery of their photos:

Maybe next year! Go Pack Go!

January 19, 2008

The high temp today: -1 degree

It's 8:00 am. Tried to let the dogs out this morning and it was a mad dash in and out. No one wants to be outside. The official temp right now is -10 degrees. The thermometer outside my kitchen window reads -4 degree. This is the kind of cold where it hurts to breathe outside. I hope my Australian friends are appreciating their summer!

January 18, 2008

New orchids bring rich colors

The new birthday orchids are settling in quite nicely. The diffused winter sun casted such a beautiful light into the living room this morning. The fuschia color of the small phalaenopsis orchid was stunning. Folks in Wisconsin, know that the winter sun is an elusive thing. So when it comes out, you take the time to enjoy it.

A nice brisk morning

Took Teiko out for a walk this morning at 7:30. It was already warming up to a balmy 7 degrees from an overnight low of about 0. After layering on the warm clothes and sorel boots, headed down to the park to throw the frisbee for the boy. With the sun shining, it didn't actually feel that bad.

January 17, 2008

Go Pack Go!

On Sunday at Lambeau field in Green Bay, at 6:00 pm and -5 degrees, the Packers will take on the NY Giants for the NFC championship game. The winner of that match will go to the Super Bowl.

Not sure if I should admit this or not, but I turned down an invite to go to the game. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Eric can't use his ticket, so he gave his to Todd. Poor Todd, he needs a friend, a comrade, and witness to that soon to be Packers victory.

And bless his heart, he kinda asked me first. But the thought of a late night, a long drive and a dangerously cold night in the stadium, had me wavering. I graciously thanked him and suggested he ask one of our friends who are more devoted. Please understand, I love my Packers - I just tend to like my games with warmer temperatures.

Todd soon found his Packer comrade in Peter, his brother, who was estastic upon receiving the invite.

GO Pack GO!!!!!

January 16, 2008

Pumpkin skins are good for the pups

My dogs love to eat. And one of the funniest things my dogs like is pumpkin skins. They can be fresh, baked and even roasted - the pups love 'em. And pumpkin is very good for occasional intestinal issues, if you know what I mean...so I regularly cook up pumpkin when I have it
for a special treat. Here's a little photo of Cita chowing down on some pumpkin skin, while Teiko waits for more.
P.S. Another favorite of Teiko's is shrimp skins - he can't eat enough. And did you know that shrimp skins are a great source for Glucosamine - the wonder mineral for dog's bones and joints?

January 14, 2008

My girls - the rockstars

After a one year wait, Raine finally acquired the funds necessary to purchase the PlayStation 3, but more importantly, she also acquired the infamous Rock Band game. this game can have up to four players (a guitarist, a bassist, a singer and a drummer) So it's kind of like super-charged karaoke. While Ryann was home, it was a pretty sure bet you'd find the girls rocking out. Raine is becoming a pretty good drummer. Ryann does guitar and sings. I've even been known to strap on the guitar when needed. Overall, a lot of fun.

January 13, 2008

Today is my birthday. It was everything that I wanted. I got orchids, jewelry making supplies, and a fantastic Giants vs Cowboys win to make the Packers get the championship NFC game in Lambeau next week. The poor cowboys lost. oh so sad.....not.

The highlight of my birthday was the homemade dinner created by Raine. My cookie monster blue birthday cake (pictured above) was baked by Raine this morning. The frosting was suppose to be white, but as what happens with homemade creations, one has to improvise. I've never had a blue cake before, but also, I haven't had a homemade birthday cake, since I was six or so. The chocolate cake with rasberry filling was just what I asked for. The color unforgettable. Raine rocks! Thanks for the great cake.For dinner, Raine wanted to make my dinner as her gift. I asked for lamb. She came up with a great indian curry recipe. She made the curry from scratch. As I told Raine, Curry is to Indian as Gumbo is to Cajun... Awesome dinner and it was a wonderful birthday present. A pretty amazing birthday gift from a 15 year old.

I'm a pretty lucky birthday girl.

January 11, 2008

I need a little more color...

It is really a gray and glooming kind of day. I need more flowers to cheer me up!

Beauty in bloom

I need some color, some beauty, some joy. Orchids do that for me very well. I'm excited that several of the orchids I got for my birthday last year are reblooming - but not fast enough for my birthday on Sunday. Maybe someone (...todd) will take a hint and surprise me with something pretty to brighten my day. The orchid above bloomed from January to July last year.

January 6, 2008

A foggy quiet Sunday

It's hauntingly beautiful outside today. We have a dense fog advisory for the day with temperatures approaching 50 degrees. Here's an awesome shot from the back yard of the trees and pampas grass. Below is the very stubborn thyme forcing its way back through the melting snow. It's always nice to have fresh herbs.

January 4, 2008

Democratic primaries - Gravel?

So Ryann has big signs in her house windows supporting a democratic long-shot Mike Gravel as a presidential candidate. I've been sitting on the fence - not really taking a strong liking to any of the front runners - though I have to say this is the most exciting democratic primary I've seen in my life. To actually have a choice. wow! Anyway, I checked out Gravel's website today and I have to say, the man is making sense - in many of the issues I hold dear - out of Iraq now, women's health and net neutrality. Check out Gravel's positions. http://www.gravel2008.us/issues

January 3, 2008

A new Camry hybrid car

Well Todd pulled the trigger and picked up a new 2008 Toyota Hybrid Camry last night (Which I counselled him). It is a beautiful car! The electric start is really quiet and the monitoring screen to watch the car switch from the electric motor to the gas motor is mesmerizing.

Once it warms up outside (-2 last night) I'll get some real pictures.
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