Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I've been working lately, with help from my sweetie, on loading software and transferring files to my new computer. In the process I've been sorting through lots of files, photos, etc. from past years. I came across some photos of my kids that they took for my birthday a couple of years ago - I believe it was 2009. Just wanted to share with you how gorgeous they are! And may I say they are just as beautiful on the inside. Stephanie and David, I love you so. You have grown to be such amazing individuals, and I continue to learn so much from you. It is a great blessing to be your mama, and I want to hug you forever. 

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."  —Angela Schwindt 

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  —Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Sneak...

Hi There. Today it's cloudy and the weather dudes are predicting thunder storms for tonight and tomorrow morning. That's strange weather for these parts at the end of June. But the clouds are bringing cooler weather with them and it's rather welcoming, actually. It got really hot really fast last week, so I'll take a couple of days in the 70's right about now.

And speaking of weather, I thought I'd share a sneak peek into a few of the new designs from my "get well" collection, which will be released by Impression Obsession at CHA next month in Chicago. This is a varied and fun collection that hopefully will find many uses.

And speaking of things to "get well" from, I just got off the phone scheduling some oral surgery that I get to have done in a couple of weeks. I am not looking forward to the procedure, but I am looking forward to the results when it's all done. Gotta keep the maintenance up! Getting older is not very fun sometimes...

OK, time to run. Stay cool!

"The greatest wealth is health."  —Virgil

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sarah, Ryan & Tatum

For the past five years or so in the Allred home, we had a few satellite/cable channels but no network channels (no ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc.). Then for all of 2010, we had no television at all. Now in our new/old home, we have entered the twenty-first century with a large flat-screen LCD television and a two-year contract with the dish. Is is a good thing? Jury's still out. I sometimes now find myself watching a lot of TV. When I am tired and sore and my back hurts, which is often, it's easy to pour myself a tall cold one and snuggle into a deep corner of the sectional sofa with a few strategically placed pillows, and before I know it hours have passed. I learn some things and am entertained some, but mostly I am just wasting time. I need to back off. I am working on it.

That said, I have found a couple of new shows that are proving quite therapeutic for me, which may or may not be a good thing. It's Oprah's fault, and I must say that I have NEVER been a fan of Oprah. Her new OWN network features "Finding Sarah" and "Ryan & Tatum," both of which are explore-your-dark-history, go-to-lots-of-therapy, talk-through-your problems-while-the-cameras-follow-your every-move reality shows. Again, I have never been a fan. But I am finding some solace in these shows. I am finding snippets of wisdom that are helpful to me, but at the same time they bring up feelings of frustration. Both of these shows were on this evening and now I am in an emotional fog. I guess I will sleep on it and decide tomorrow if this is a habit I will continue or not.

Anyway... So, our Steph came home for a quick visit this weekend. Some friends of hers from Folsom who are attending school in Utah & Idaho were coming to CA and offered her a place in their car. They came on Friday and went back today. It was wonderful to see our girl! She is lovely inside and out and I just dig that girl! So very proud of her.  

OK. Tired. Good night!

"All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?"  —Nicholas Johnson 

"Television: chewing gum for the eyes."  —Frank Lloyd Wright

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dave's Faves

My man-child David is somewhat of a picky eater, but what he loves, HE LOVES. Take watermelon. David lives for watermelon. And grapes. And oranges. And blueberries. And raspberries. And apples. But mostly watermelon. David loves almost all fruit, and also fruit-flavored candy. And there are some things I make that he routinely asks for, a few of which are chicken noodle soup, brown rice with teriyaki chicken, chicken tacos, and his all-time favorite, black bean & chicken chili. (ha - looks like a bit of a chicken theme going on here - just noticed that!) I am in the process of putting together a recipe book for David, and I am also working with him to teach him how to make some of these recipes so he won't go hungry when he's out on his own someday. Anyway, today he's asked me to help him make the chili so he can take a pot of it to his friend Nina's house to share with her family tonight. Luckily I have all of the ingredients on hand. David and I are going to put together a big double batch so we can keep some here and David can take some to Nina's.

I do have to mention that David is starting to get a little more adventurous and willing to try some new foods, and he even likes some of them. which makes me happy. And he is always so polite and appreciative and always thanks his mama for his food, which ALSO makes me happy!

So here is the recipe for David's favorite chili. Enjoy!

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 or 4 frozen boneless chicken tenderloin strips
½ yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cans (15.25 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.25 ounces) whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite-cut diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (4 ounces) fire-roasted diced green chiles, drained

Heat oil in a large pot. Add chicken, onions and spices. Cook and stir over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, shred into small pieces, and return chicken to pot. Add all other ingredient, stir, cover and simmer until heated through. Adjust seasoning as desired. Serve warm with sour cream, grated cheese, diced avocado, diced tomato, tortilla chips, etc. if desired.

"Worries go down better with soup."  —Jewish Proverb

"Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are."  —Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

"There is nothing better on a cold day than a properly made pot pie."  —Craig Claiborne

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What I Did Today...

So much on my mind. Today I had the opportunity to celebrate both birth and death with some of my closest friends. Both ends of life. The full spectrum. Today my friends Kari and Kris buried their father, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on June 12 while traveling in Europe. And also today my friends Andy and Sharlie celebrated the second birthday of their cute, adorable and amazing miracle son Tavin. It was a great day full of many emotions. Made me think lots about my own life... Wishing I could change some things that are beyond my power to change. Wishing I could more fully let go of some things that are currently causing my heart to ache. Wishing certain things were different, but at the same time knowing and rejoicing in the love that I do have in my life, both from my family and from my friends — that love nurtures me and sustains me and it's wonderful.

Sometimes our joy is overflowing and we have lots to celebrate; sometimes we find that life gets heavy and hard and difficult to bear. And sometimes we experience both joy and sorrow simultaneously. But at all times we should rally together with those we love and share both the joys and the burdens of life. Thus the way gets easier for all. Our joy is multiplied and our grief is made more bearable. That's how it should be. We care, and we love, and we never stop, and we show that care and love through our actions. It's a beautiful thing, especially when we remember that our Savior has already suffered all things for us, and when we turn to him and place our burdens at his feet he stands ready to bless us. Oh, life is good! Lay those burdens down and be joyful.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."  —Thomas Campbell

"Life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight."  —R.W. Raymond

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Recipe Time: Potato Frittata

Whew - it's been a busy week filled with both fun and difficult stuff. Let's just say that I am thankful for my sweet hubby and kids, and also for my wonderful friends! Don't know what I would do without them... and I also want to say: Kari & Kris, I love you two! You are in my prayers.

My friend Kim turned the big four-oh this past week, and a few of us got together and threw her a surprise overnight party. We had a blast! We tried to stay with an "F" theme for most of the food ("Forty" was the "F" word of the day). We had two kinds of Fondue, two kinds of Fudge, Fries, Fountain drinks. Fcookies, Fcandy, Fchips & Fsalsa, Fcake, and so on... and for breakfast we made French Toast and Frittata. Here's the Frittata recipe. It's a versatile dish that can be changed up as your heart desires and also can be served for any meal. While it is a yummy and filling breakfast, it goes just as well with a fresh green salad or steamed veggies for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tabelspoons butter

3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

1/2 cup diced sweet sausage (I used chicken-pineapple sausage)

4 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup shredded jack or cheddar cheese

1/2 cup diced tomato

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oil and butter into a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and sausage to pan; cook and stir until heated through and potatoes are beginning to turn golden brown. At this point you can also add other ingredients such as peppers, onions, corn, spinach, bacon, etc. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Arrange potato-sausage mixture into a flat layer in the skillet, then pour egg mixture over potato mixture. Place pan in oven and bake until set, which should take about 15 minutes. Remove from oven; top with cheese and tomatoes. Return to oven to melt the cheese. Let cool slightly, slice into wedges and serve. 

"A birthday is just the first of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy it!"  —unknown 

"You're not forty... you're eighteen with 22 years experience!"  —unknown

Friday, June 10, 2011

Of Twine and Summer: Here at Last!

I love baker's twine. Those twisty colorful strands are just so happy looking, they make me smile! And I love green. Limey, Shartreusy, Juicy Green. Delicious. So of course I had to go and get me some of this Honeydew-colored baker's twine from The Twinery. It goes perfectly with my favorite Peeled Paint Distress Ink from Ranger. Put those together and I am in green heaven! I can't wait to use my new twine, and just may have to get me another spool or two at Christmas time. Love!

I think that summer may actually be here, finally. It's been such a long and wet winter, and it feels like we hardly had a springtime at all. But now we're into the upper 80's here in NorCal, flirting with the 90's. It got quite warm in our house and I was even tempted to start up the AC yesterday, but I just went with a couple of fans instead. Love the warm weather, but it's easier to deal with when it comes on gradually! But summer is wonderful so I won't complain. Life is good!

My sweetie and I are headed out this evening to look for a new sectional sofa for our family room. We've been looking for a while now for the perfect pad on which to perch our bottoms, but so far no luck. We have a long and somewhat narrow room and the options that will fit the space are limited, but the search continues! Off we go...

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."  —Russell Baker

Oh the summer night has a smile of light, and she sits on a sapphire throne."  —Barry Cornwall 

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart."  —Celia Thaxter

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I love my Aunt Julie. She's just ten years older than I am so she's more of a big sister than what you'd think of as a traditional "aunt." Julie is beautiful both inside and out. She listens to me and gives me great advice. She genuinely cares about me, understands me, trusts me, respects me, and I know she loves me. She and her awesome hubby Mike welcome me into their home and always make me feel important, valued, secure, and loved. I don't have a current photo of Julie, but she loves gardens (and is a very talented gardener - you should see her home and garden - so gorgeous!). Just look at the beauty of the flowers in this photo and you will see some of the beauty that is Julie. I thank God for Julie! She's what family should be. 

Sometimes life is challenging and people you thought were supposed to love you can break your heart. I know this from personal experience. When or if it happens to you, I hope you have a "Julie" in your life that you can turn to, to boost you up and give you strength when times are tough. And I hope that I can be a "Julie" to those I love, a true friend in every sense of the word. Julie, I love you.

Oh, and PS, our trip to Utah was mostly great. Steph is happy and doing well and it did my heart good to spend time with my girl! And Julie sent me home with several plants from her garden, which I am excited to plant here in CA. Thanks Julie! Spreadin' the love!

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."  —Dr. Seuss

"Sometimes I wish I was a little kid again. Skinned knees are easier to fix than broken hearts."  —unknown

"Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it's better to leave them broken than to hurt yourself trying to put them back together,"  —unknown

"Maybe part of loving is learning to let go."  —from The Wonder Years