Friday, April 29, 2011

23 Years Ago Today...

Amazing - 23 years! Seems like forever and yesterday at the same time. Happy Anniversary to my eternal companion and my best friend. Rich, you have made my life wonderful. I love you!

Rich served his mission in London, and was there to witness the marriage of Charles and Diana in 1981. He stood outside the cathedral with the throngs of people and watched as the royal coaches drove by. Rich even caught a glimpse of Diana's father. And isn't it interesting that Charles & Diana's son has chosen this date — the date of OUR wedding, as the day to marry his princess, the lovely Kate? We wish them all the best. Life is tough enough, but having to live it in a fish bowl in front of the world... good luck, kids! Just remember how much you love each other today and keep your feet on the ground. It's all about love, and sacrifice, and being nice.

So, my sweetheart Rich, here's to growing old together! Thanks for choosing me. I love you so much!

"There is no feeling more comforting and consoling than knowing you are right next to the one you love." —unknown

"What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow." —Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate." —Barnett R. Brickner

"There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage." —Martin Luther

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Banana Cake Heaven

Hello. It's spring. Northern California is THE PLACE to be this time of year. I love it (except for the allergy torment that my boy David deals with. All of his sneezing breaks my heart! What I would not do to suffer in his place. He takes the meds but they don't really help. Poo.)

Anyway, the sun is shining and it's a great day. I took all of the tools and construction junk off of our fireplace hearth today and moved the mess to our garage. Rich will probably grouse about it tonight ("I need that stuff - I'm still using it."), but it's a short walk from the family room to the garage and it's all still right there and accessible and he will get over it. I am a bad wife. But having the junk moved allowed me to give the brick hearth a good cleaning and arrange some cute stuff in front, and now the family room is all "put together." Starting to feel a little like home around here, kinda. Getting there. Not to mention that it will be nice to relax on the sofa in the evening and not have to stare at a bunch-o tools and what-have-you...

Hey you — Make this cake and eat it. You will thank me.

(adapted from

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

3 bananas, mashed

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (optional)

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1 cup sour cream

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the bananas, pineapple or chocolate chips, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; stir into batter just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Top each portion with a dollop of whipped cream or your favorite cream cheese frosting. Serve chilled. This cake rocks. Enough said.

"Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems." —Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
2. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance.
3. the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one in having a meaningful relationship.
4. the faculty of seeing all of the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.
5. A mental view or prospect.

I am pondering today on how perspective relates to truth. A wise woman once said, "The truth is the truth, no matter what." And this I believe. This is true. Regardless of what a person thinks, certain things are TRUE. There is order in the universe.

I have also come to the conclusion lately that one of the greatest challenges of life is learning to truly get along with other people, especially those within our own families — those we know and love the most (or do we really know them? Hmmm). It's a shame that we often (and I am guilty of this) save our best selves and our best behavior for acquaintance or even virtual strangers, and we dump the worst versions of ourselves on those we hold dear. Why is this? Is it because we feel they have to keep loving us? Well keep on dumping, sweetie, and find out what happens. Uh huh. That's right.

Ok. Let's go love each other. And show it. And mean it. Every day. All the time.

"Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real." —Iris Murdoch

"'Tis the most tender part of love, each other to forgive." —John Sheffield

"Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke." —Lynda Barry

"There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love." —Bryant McGill

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He is Risen!

What a beautiful time of year, when we celebrate what is the single most important thing that ever happened on this earth: the atonement and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He died for all of us. He endured the pain and anguish of the cumulative sins and afflictions of the entire human race. I cannot comprehend it, but I know that he literally is my savior, and yours. With him and through him we can be forgiven of our sins and someday return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. What a wonderful gift this is! It is everything. It is why we are here. Yes, chocolate and bunnies and treats and lovely dinners are fun, but let us always remember the true meaning of Easter, which is the true meaning of life itself and the very reason why the earth was created: so we can learn and grow and progress and someday become like God.

Let us love our families, hug our children, be kind to our fellow men, go about doing good, and strive to be more Christ-like in all of our dealings. Happy Easter.

He is risen! He is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice.
He has burst his three days' prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered, man is free.
Christ has won the victory!
—Cecil Frances Alexander

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Blog Love!

Still not able to stamp amid the chaos around here, but I am working on some new designs for release at CHA this Summer (which will be Impression Obsession's Fall/Winter release) which I am excited about. Can't share anything yet, but will post some images when the date gets closer. So far there's a "With Sympathy" set, a "Get Well Soon" set, a "Happy Birthday" set, some more Christmas goodies, and a few other things. We'll see where my imagination takes me!

I thought I'd
share a little more Blog love today. These cards are from the cute and talented Dina Kowal from Impression Obsession's design team, and they feature some of my more recent designs from CHA in January (you can also click on each photo for a link to the clear stamp set used for that card). The "Rose" card uses CL322 - "In a Garden," and "Thank you for a House" uses CL310 - "Life." I really do plan to get back to making cards as soon as my life gets back to normal (whatever normal is - ha!) In fact, I can't wait. I've purchased a new desk and some shelving that are lurking in their boxes until I have the time and space to assemble them, organize my office/studio, and then I can finally get down to using all of my new stamps, papers and inks! Yay!

I have to say that the house has been frustrating lately. It seems like every time we start a project, even an easy one, we run into snags, a bit of worn out or shoddy workmanship from the original builder, or something else that slows us down for whatever reason. Can you say "money pit?" Oh well, but it really is a lovely home and it's getting more lovely every day and I know I need to be grateful. And thanks so much to my awesome hubs Rich for all of his hard work! Sweetie, you are the best and I love you.

"Gratitude is the art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture." —Kak Sri

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, and love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Our son David is singing this semester with the amazing Sac State Jazz Singers. I was able to travel to Monterey a couple weekends ago to watch them perform in Monterey's Next Generation Jazz Festival. They were so incredibly good, and I am so proud of my boy David! Click on the photo here for a link to one of their rehearsals for the original song "Radiance." There is a beautiful and sad story behind this song, and the words, written by the talented Julia Dollison and arranged by Kerry Marsh, tell the story of a baby girl who passed away, as seen through the eyes of her parents. The song is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

Here are the lyrics to "Radiance:"

Sometimes in her sleep she smiles.
Is she dreaming? Is she far away?
Sometimes in her sleep she laughs.
Is she playing games? Does she wish she could stay?

Sometimes in her sleep she cries,
And you hold her and pray.

Morning comes, and she'll forget.
Things she dreams about never make much sense.
And the sun shines in so bright,
Just like her radiance.

All these moments fly by so quickly,
But she never seems to mind,
As long as you're by her side.

And sometimes in her sleep she awakens
To find that you were there all the while.
With a smile, she returns to her dreams.

In this video, David is the tall good-looking young man first seen at approximately 0:38. He is my baby and I thank the Lord every day that we still have him. Life is precious.

"Laugh as long as you breathe and love as long as you live." —unknown

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Motivation and Gray Matter

I am priming our kitchen island today. We've removed the cabinet and drawer fronts, and right now the island is a large gray box and I have very sore knees! This remodeling business is hard work and I am old. I have said that many times and it is true! I'll give the primer the rest of the day to dry and then tomorrow the black paint goes on. It will be exciting to see whether it looks like the picture in my mind. I think it will and I can't wait (also can't wait until it's all finished and I can relax for a bit). Ah, good times.

The night before last I attended an ABWA (American Business Women's Association) meeting with my pal Lisa, where we listened to a speaker tell us how to envision our futures and achieve our goals. It was a lot of what I'd heard before, but a few things did stick with me. She talked about the concept of NOW-HOW-WOW, which is to take stock of where you are NOW, then put into place an action plan on HOW you will achieve your goals, so you will be able to one day look back and see the changes and success you've accomplished and say, WOW. I admit that I am pretty good with the coming up with ideas and the setting of goals, but I am somewhat less good in following them through. I do know that if I am to truly change my life for the better, I am the only person who can make that happen (that is unless a bag of money falls out of the sky and lands at my feet). And financial reward is only one way of measuring success, of course, and I have re-committed myself to striving for success in the various aspects of my life. This has involved setting specific milestones, making lists (actually writing them down, not just thinking about them!), and putting into place other methods for measuring my progress. I know I am not getting any younger and NOW is the time to make more things happen! I am the boss of me!

"Bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." —Abraham Lincoln

"Diligence is the mother of good fortune." —Benjamin Disraeli

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Thought I'd share a recipe today since I haven't posted one in a while. This is my all-time FAVORITE chocolate cake. It is moist, delicious, easy, and can be made from items usually found in the pantry (well, my pantry anyway!) without making a trip to the store for specialty ingredients. If you have not tried this cake before, you need to do it. You will be happy you did! Enjoy...


2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Top with Ganache or "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

KALANI’S RECOMMENDATION: Serve this cake chilled. It’s oh-so-good, and it brings out the fudgy yumminess. Trust me.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Yield: about 2 cups frosting.

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love chocolate, and communists." —Leslie Moak Murray

"Don't ruin a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty."
—Lora Brody

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thankful for Friends Part IV

I just got home from spending the evening with four of my best lady friends. I've had a lot of stress in my life lately, from a few different sources, and let me tell you — a night with my buddies is just what I needed! Every woman needs at least a small handful of dear friends with whom she can truly be herself, sharing good times, trying times, ups, and downs. These gals are the ones I turn to for that. They are precious to me. Here's a picture of four of the five of us, from a few years ago. We still mostly look like this (some slight variations in hair color and weight from then until now - but who's telling!), and one of the five of us is not pictured (I need to update my photos - I am not great at that, sorry...) The five of us have shared so much over the years: the birth of children, the death of parents, triumphs, tragedies, and everything in between that life has to offer. I love my friends to pieces... You sweet ladies mean the world to me. You are good for my soul. What a blessing you are!

"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose." —Tennessee Williams

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
—Christopher Robin to Pooh

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lighting the Flame

Today was the day. We removed the protective blue coating from our new appliances, tested and turned on the gas, and tried out our new range for the first time. It is beeeau-tiful! Also today we're having the faucet, garbage disposer, and plumbing installed, and tonight we're going to move the fridge into place. Although it's been *fun* having the refrigerator in the living room right near our front door (NOT), I think I will like having it in the kitchen better... Then next week I will paint our new kitchen island black (can't wait for that - it's gonna look so great!), then the cabinet knobs & drawer pulls go on, then the new light fixtures, then some other miscellaneous trim, then viola... it's a brand new kitchen! Photos will be posted sometime soon.

Oh man has this been a looooooonnnnnnnngggg couple of months without a kitchen, but I am so excited for the end result! Even though we're not completely finished, tomorrow I am going to roast some butternut squash and other veggies and make a big pot of soup. It's one of our favorite things, so I thought it fitting to make this the first meal cooked on our new range! It's gonna be good.

All right, back to work! Have a lovely weekend ya'll.

"The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have it done." —Voltaire

Thursday, April 7, 2011


1. To convey information about; make known; impart.
2. To have an interchange, as of ideas.
3. To express oneself in such a way that one is readily and clearly understood.
4. Ecclesiastical To receive Communion.
5. To be connected, one with another.


Pass along. Put across. Send a message. Relay. Carry. Render. Transmit. Address. Contact. Commune. Correspond. Ask. Inform. Greet. Speak. Reach out. Signal. Convey. Interact. Connect. Trust. Share.

Communication is a good thing. It is the mutual sharing and exchanging of thoughts, ideas and concepts resulting in understanding and it promotes development, change and moving forward. Good communication is vital to relationships of all kinds.

The opposites of communicate: Conceal.
Bottle up. Cover. Suppress. Keep Quiet. Withhold. Lack of communication results in frustration, heartache, feelings of hopelessness, and the loss of good relationships. Needless to say, I don't like it.

"Communication works for those who work at it." —John Powell

"The way we communicate with others and ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives." —Anthony Robbins

"First learn the meaning of what you say, then speak it."