Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zucchini Public Service

Gardens. They yield their bounty this time of year, and it's a wonderful thing! All of that fresh produce. Yum. I ate a pluot and a pear last night and I was in heaven! But what to do with all of the zucchini? It's nice, but seriously — it gets to be just a bit much after a while! So I thought I'd share a couple of zucchini recipes to help out those of you who may literally be swimming in large green squash. Here you go... enjoy!

tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced
1 small carrot, finely diced

2 medium (about 2 pounds) zucchini squash, diced

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

salt & pepper to taste

butter and olive oil in a large pot over low hear. Add onion, garlic and carrots. Saute slowly until somewhat tender. Add zucchini and broth, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth (or using a blender, puree soup in small batches and transfer back to the pot). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream and/or croutons if desired.

2 cups grated raw zucchini

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/4 cup grated Parmes
an cheese
1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 to 3 tablespoons finely diced red pepper (fresh or roasted)

garlic salt, salt and pepper to taste

1 tables
poon butter, for sauteing

Press excess moisture out of grated zucchini, using paper towels. Mix together with all remaining ingredients (except butter). Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet. Spoon prepared mixture (about 2 heaping tablespoons per patty) into skillet. Flatten lightly with spatula. Cook over medium heat until nicely browned on both sizes. Serve plain or topped with marinara sauce and grated cheese, if desired. Another delicious topper for these patties is to mix up a quick salsa of equal parts diced fresh tomatoes and either canned or frozen whole-kernel corn, and stir in about four tablespoons of finely diced onion. Yummy!

"A man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world." —Vita Sackville-West

"A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever." —Richard Briers

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ahh, a good day!

Life has been cuh-razy lately. Too much to do and too many different hats to wear. Let's just say I've been running from thing to thing with not enough time to focus on any one, and leaving too many ends untied. I needed a good day "off" and I got one today. The weather was lovely and cool, we got to church on time with no meltdowns, we had a yummy and healthy dinner (roasted chicken with carrots, onions, broccoli and brown rice), followed by my man-child David and I having a great sit-down conversation about "big picture" stuff that went very well. After that I got a sweet nap on the sofa, then I made some delicious (and, um, not so healthy) brownies for some mid-evening snacking. Ahh, a relaxing and rejuvenating Sunday. Good for the body and for the soul! Love it, love my family, love the world, love my Savior, love life! I still have a busy-busy week to come, but now my tank is filled and I feel like I can face my many responsibilities and I just may make some progress this week. All right you crazy life, bring it on!

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet." —James Openheim

Friday, August 27, 2010

Things that go Bump in the Night...

I admit that I have been having all together too much fun playing with my new Halloween stamps and making Halloween cards. I do believe, when I really stop and think about it, that Halloween really is kind of a weird holiday that has morphed from what it started as many years ago into something completely different today. And there was this seasonal Halloween store that was in my town for a few months last year that had (although I never went in there; I just had to walk past it often enough to be disturbed) VERY creepy and disgusting "decorations" too morbid and gross to describe (think death and dismemberment, and lots of fake blood)... I guess if a person were to focus just on what has become the "FUN" side of Halloween (cute kids, candy, leaving treats on your neighbors' doorsteps, sending cards, carving pumpkins and having parties) and forget the evil satanic death-loving aspects that some people choose to embrace, then I do agree that Halloween has an enjoyable side to it. So... in that light, I have been making cards and having fun. Okay. All right. Okay.

Here is a card I made using some papers from my stash, and also two of my new stamp designs: Eek and Bump in the Night. Both are available as parts of a clear set or as stand-alone wood or clings, all from Impression Obsession. You can also see them, as well as more of my Halloween designs, HERE. I stamped the "Bump in the Night" image with Versamark ink, then embossed it with white embossing powder. The spider was drawn freehand and embellished with Hero Arts black metallic decors. The result was a card that was fun, and just a little creepy, but hopefully only creepy in a good way.

Rich and I went out to eat Thai food (yum) tonight with our dear friends Pam and Richard. We go way back with Pam & Richard, all the way to our single days. Amazing to think how many years that's been... They are great people, they have great kids, and we have so much in common that we could sit and talk with them for hours. Love them! Tomorrow morning it's out to the farmer's market then maybe I will hit a few garage sales. And Rich has asked me to make some banana and/or zucchini bread, so we'll probably get that going in the afternoon, or maybe on Sunday after church. Then a nap on Sunday afternoon. How I love a good snooze. Sounds like another delightful weekend!

"When witches go riding and black cats are seen,
The moon laughs and whispers, 'tis near Halloween!" —unknown

"From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties,
And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!" —Scottish Saying

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This Just In: Graduation Photos!

So, my sweet hubby Rich is a professional photographer, and Steph is a budding photographer as well. Me? Uh, not so much. Terrible. Awful. I stink at it. We have a clear division of duties in our marriage: I shop, cook, do laundry and decorate the house while Rich brings home the bacon, washes cars, kills spiders and takes all of the pictures. As it should be. But I digress... Anyway, we have this nice small digital camera (Rich still laments the death of film cameras — an artform lost to the world, he says, and I agree — sad story!), but we have the habit around the Allred home of losing cables: iPod cables, phone charger cables, um, cables to hook up a camera to a computer so you can upload the photos you take... so anyhoo, we had to recently order a new cable for our camera. That means that there were lots of pictures on there from the past several months that we were, until recently, unable to retrieve. Which also means that just now, for the first time, I was able to look at the photos we took this past May 28, which was the day our son David graduated from Folsom High School. It was such a happy and long- anticipated day, although it also unfortunately was a day filled with thunderstorms and treacherous downpours and hail, so the school had to move the graduation from the stadium into the gym, which was hot and crowded, but it did not dampen our spirits at all. I was so excited (and relieved) that this day had finally come and David was able to graduate with the awesome class of 2010! Woot woot! Here are a couple pictures of Steph and David in front of our house right after the rain stopped and just before we headed over to the Commencement ceremony. What a day. Good times, and good memories! Now it's on to college and the big, fun, exciting world! David and Steph, I am so proud of the both of you. You are mine forever and I love you!

"The tassel is worth the hassle!" —unknown

"The future lies before you like a field of driven snow.
Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show." —unknown

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The word is: AWESOMENESS

Awesomeness: An unmeasurable amount of awesomenimity something can produce (source: urbandictionary.com). OK, and as a student and collector of words, I must say: how awesome is the word "awesomenimity?" Even if it is a made-up word, I love it! One of my favorite motivational posters is this one that says: "When you get sad, stop being sad and be awesome instead." What great advice that is! We all know, I'm sure, that life can get you down sometimes, and it's easy to fall into the rut of sadness, worry, depression and despair. But how much better it is to be awesome! So that is my reminder for today, perhaps more for myself than for anyone, that it's oh-so-important to think positively, be optimistic, look for the good in every situation, be nice, be patient, take it easy, and smile. It's awesome!

"The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." —Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You are Mine

Another day of gratitude. I am so thankful for my family. It's been a long and exhausting day and I'm gonna turn in early tonight, but I wanted to do a quick post and say, hey Allred fam, you're the greatest! Rich my sweets, and Steph & David. Love you.

Here's a card I made about a year ago. Don't remember the details, but it was a fun card and I hope you enjoy looking at it. Be sure to visit StampinTreasures.com to get all of the stamps, inks and cards you need to satisfy your creative desires.

Good night for now!

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained." —Winston Churchill

Monday, August 23, 2010

All Seasons Sweet

Believe it or not, August is almost over and we are staring into the face of Fall, 2010. It is simply astounding how fast this year has gone by! So much to do and so little time. Since our son David graduated from high school last May, we no longer have the standard "back-to-school" chaos in the Allred home that has prevailed for so many years. Now it's a more individually-tailored chaos; still stressful but in different ways. Steph is going the vocational route and is starting her CNA (certified nursing assistant) training in Utah the first week of October, and will (hopefully) pass her classes and certification testing and will be gainfully employed by the end of that month. David is starting his jazz studies classes at CSU Sacramento on August 31, and is still (kinda) trying to find a job that will fit into his class schedule. Both kids have been having a fun-filled summer, and I probably need to get them to do more around here, but I have to admit if feels kinda good to sit at my computer in the quiet morning, working away while my sweet children sleep. But now it's almost 11am and I'm trying to get them to rise and greet the day, so far with little success. Oh, to be young and care-free again. But their "real world" kicks in soon, so for now I am nice mom and I let them sleep. Mean mom will be making a showing soon, I'm sure. She never stays away for long, unfortunately...

So, Autumn. It's always been one of my favorite times of year. The air is cooling, the leaves are turning, the gardens are yielding their bounty, and the world just feels good! Could also have something to do with the onset of the holiday season, and my birthday, and I don't know what else. I just like the Fall!

The above photo is of a card I created using one of my new designs from Impression Obsession. You can get it HERE. The supplies used include a Hero Arts Kraft Note Card, Memory Box Blackbird 6x6 Papers, Hero Arts Sunshine Mixed Accents, Tim Holtz Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink, and Memento Ink in Tuxedo Black. All of these items are available from StampinTreasures.com.

All right now, mean mom is gonna go get those kids out of bed! Wish me luck...

"Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." —George Eliot

Friday, August 20, 2010

The word is: GRATITUDE

So I think that every post should be titled "Gratitude." It's something I need to be reminded of. It's something I should have more of. It's something I think about often. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the little (and not so little) daily struggles of life and forget to step back and say, "wow, I am so blessed!" And I know I am. My trials are many but they are manageable if only I keep the proper perspective. A family from our church is dealing right now with their oldest son (and old is a relative term here: he is eight) battling cancer. It's a fast-growing malignancy that originated in one of his kidneys and it's a pretty serious deal. The tumor is called a neuroblastoma, and so far in the past few months I believe this amazing little guy has had four rounds of chemotherapy, a bone marrow/stem cell harvest, at least one surgery, several transfusions, and countless stays in the hospital. Major surgery is scheduled for September, where they'll remove his non-functioning kidney, look at his liver, and attempt to remove at least part of the tumor, which is currently encasing his aorta. That will be followed by more chemo and then radiation. Wow. This family has four younger sons as well, and needless to say their lives have been turned upside down by this situation. But through it all, what a strength and example they have been to all who know them! They are my heroes, and a daily reminder that I have nothing to complain about. And also that life is a gift, every single day of it, and we need to lift ourselves out of the daily muck and be thankful that the sun rises and we have air to breathe and a father in Heaven who loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves! Life is beautiful. Always remember that. No matter what.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." —John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FRIENDS card and the DMV

I have been busy lately making sample cards using my new stamp line from Impression Obsession. It's been so much fun! Once I start stamping I find it hard to stop, and oh the mess I make! Paper and supplies everywhere. We need to find a new house soon, one with a room for my crud that has a door I can shut to hide my messy secrets! House-hunting is stressful. Don't get me started. Oi.

Here is a card that uses no stamps at all (the "friends" tag was printed on the computer). Just lots of punches (flowers and squares) and a little bling. It was fun! Also lots of foam dots. The card has several layers, which in the photo are hard to see.

So Steph and I are off to the DMV today, to get her "new" car registered. It's a cute little red Honda Civic that she'll take with her when she moves next month. She's getting pretty excited about all of the changes coming her way. And I still don't have my mind around the fact that my girl is leaving me. Hmmm. This is an interesting time of life. How did we all get so old?? But I know she is ready and I have every confidence that she'll succeed in her new life and new opportunities. But my Steph, I will miss you! Call me lots.

"If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies." —Unknown

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." —Anatole France

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Chicago Memories

I had never been to Chicago before I went there last month for the CHA convention. It was big, exciting, and humid! Diane and I shared a room at the Crowne Plaza, right across the street from the convention center. We had a great time! In addition to the days spent at the convention, shows and classes we ate out some, had room service some, rode the "L" downtown a couple of times, went to movies, walked and walked, spent lots of money, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. But as always, I am so ready to go home at the end of a trip. I get really homesick after about four or five days. But of course I made the best of it and had a blast anyway, while making frequent phone calls home to the fam who I missed like crazy. They are the best, don't you know!

So anyway, our room at the hotel was on the tenth floor, and there was this really great sign in the hallway just outside the elevators. And being a band and choir mom (and former marching band member myself), I got a chuckle out of it! I took a picture of the sign, which (like all pictures I take) did not turn out the greatest. The sign said, "Welcome to the Quiet Zone" and the second bullet point read "No children, leisure groups, marching bands, or circus animals will be assigned to this area." Ha - gotta love it! And it was nice and quiet up there, I have to say.

Thanks again Diane for a great trip!

"Travel and change of pace impart new vigor to the mind." —Seneca

Friday, August 6, 2010

The word is: CHANGE

No, this will not be a political post. When I say "Change," I am NOT referring to anything that may or may not be going on in our nation's capitol. What I am referring to is what is going on here in the Allred home.

What are you talking abo
ut, you say? Well, this is it: Rich and I became parents for the first time in January of 1990 (our lovely Stephanie), then again in February of 1992 (our amazing David). When a baby is born it's really easy for parents to assume that child will be a child forever. Let me tell you, that is not the case. The past 20-plus years have passed in a blur, and here we are in 2010 with both of our children officially "adults." Steph is nearly 21 years old and will be moving away next month to pursue a career as a certified nursing assistant. David is 18, graduated from high school this past May and newly-registered with the Selective Service (yep, the draft - it's the law, did you know that?), making this mother just a tad nervous. Our children are long gone, and in their place we now live with two beautiful, wonderful, talented, responsible, respectful, creative, righteous, gorgeous (and, I must say, also kinda messy) grown-up people. How did that happen? I still love them as if they were my babies, but they are definitely not babies any more. Luckily they still let me hug and kiss them and they say "I love you" back when I say it to them, which is about forty-seven times a day.

I am so very proud of the
people that my children have become, and I am so very excited for what the future holds for both of them. Rich, thank you for being a wonderful father and for giving me the sweet gift of motherhood, embodied in our Stephanie and our David. What a blessing the three of you are to me!

So, the word for today is CHANGE, because I feel like so many things are changing, and sometimes I feel not quite ready for the changes. For all of you young moms and dads out there, let me remind you to hug your babies a lot, because they get big fast. I know you know this. The cliches are true.

"Time flies on wings of lightning; We cannot call it back." —Robert B. Baird

"Teach a child while in his youth; teach a child to love the truth.
And the covenants and promises he makes
will be a shield and protection for all his days."
—Steven K. Perry

Monday, August 2, 2010


Hi. Got home from Chicago late on Sunday night, and have been feeling under the weather ever since. I had a boatload of work to do today (playing catch-up from being gone) so regardless of how I felt it was off to work I went.

CHA was fabulous, fun, exciting, and exhausting! Seeing my designs produced as stamps, printed in the catalog
and on display in Impression Obsession's booth for all to see was just so beyond-words exciting. So cool. Here's a pic of me with some of my babies! I heard that they were very well received. And Mitra is going to do a mid-season (October) release of some of my other new designs. Yay!

I missed Rich and my kiddos so much while I was gone. It was so good to get home! They requested and I made a pot of home-made spaghetti yesterday, although I did not eat any (see paragraph I above). Maybe I'll try some left-overs tonight.

My partner-in-crime Diane left yesterday for another out-of-town trip, so it's gonna be a very busy week. But life is good and I feel so very blessed! OK - the laundry and the kids are calling, so it's time for me to sign off. Later!

"Love is a place, and through this place of love move (with brightness of peace) all places." —ee cummings

"Different kinds of happy." —Inge Torvik