A Winner!

Goodness, what a busy day I've had! For the first time in many, many weeks (okay, since October), I actually had lunch with girlfriends! At Panera! It was such a fun time! Oh man, I need to get out more.

I've added up all the entries – including the extra ones that were posted in your blogs (thank you!) – and after entering the numbers in a random number generator, the winning number is……

6

BETH TWIST!!

Thank you to EVERYONE who entered and left such sweet, encouraging words and compliments regarding the new blog. I've never met a kinder group of people! And now you all have really got me in the mood to bake, which is NOT good for my love handles. Oh well, if I'm going to have them, I may as well have 'em good.

Congratulations, Beth! I actually find it quite hilarious that yours was the winning number after your comment: "You KNOW you want to pick me." LOL – that has never worked for me in giveaways, and I've used it plenty! What's your secret? 😉

A New Blog and a GIVEAWAY!

Mom and I have been talking for quite some time now about how we'd love to start a recipe blog, and we've finally got it under way! It's a very new blog right now, so there isn't a whole lot to look at just yet, but in time we hope to have a nice collection of recipes for all of our favorite things – muffins, soups, pies, and anything else we attempt to make in our kitchens that we'd happily make again.

Since we love to cook and bake according to the season (although I have been known to make my mother in-law's German Pancake Soup in the summer), we're calling our new blog Four Seasons Cafe, and the link is in the sidebar. I hope you'll stop by once in a while with a cup of coffee (or tea!) and see if there's anything to tempt you to make or bake in your own kitchen!

To celebrate our new blog, I'm having a fun giveaway! I've been given the opportunity to award a $60.00 gift certificate to one lucky winner, good for anything at one of CSN Stores' 200 places to shop! Perhaps you might be interested in the corner tv stands from racksandstands.com…. Or what about a cool kitchen rack? There are so many possibilities to spend it on… you could get something from here, or perhaps here, or maybe even here or here!

Here are the rules and the details:

1. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog, or send me an email. I'll be choosing a winner on Friday some time, and if you post about the giveaway on your blog, let me know and you'll have two chances to win!

2. This gift certificate is for a one-time use at any of CSN Stores' 200  online stores, and it may be used toward a larger purchase. Some stores offer free shipping, but for the ones that do not, the winner is required to pay any additional shipping or international fees that apply.

3. This giveaway is open to US or Canadian residents only, as this is where CSN is able to ship.

4. I'm receiving no compensation for this giveaway, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have it!

I leave you with a picture of some baby mulberries growing in my back yard… they'll be making their reappearance on Four Seasons Cafe in the fall – in a pie! (But don't wait that long to visit…)

Mulberries 

Good luck to everyone, and happy shopping! (And thank you to Jess at CSN Stores!)

The Fries Have It

Sophie and I had a fun day on Saturday, just running different errands and going to a local park to walk around (she rode her scooter). Since we were both hungry and Culver's was right next to the park, we decided to grab us some burgers and fries and then head home. 

I don't usually care much for fast food joints, but Sophie loves them. And one thing that always gets on her nerves is that I don't like eating inside these fast food places; I'd prefer to just grab our order in a drive-thru and go home. But on Saturday, Sophie convinced me that it would be best if we ate inside.

Since I knew it would surprise her when I agreed, I agreed. And it surprised her. And this put her in a really good mood. 

And that's when she decided to try her hand at making Culver's french fries commercials. I'm not sure what, exactly, was in those fries, but I do know that if Culver's ever went national with this campaign, they would own the french fry world. Maybe not bc of their french fries, but probably bc Focus on the Family would be calling for an end to the ads, and that would garner them much attention. 

Sophie doesn't watch much tv outside of Disney channel, but you'd never know it.

Culver's French Fries, take 1:

Culver's French Fries, take 2:

Culver's French Fries, take 3:

And finally, the cleaned-up version:

It's definitely going to be drive-thru from now on. This way neither one of us will be surprised.

Bre.

She came home from college this week to attend a concert downtown. I loved what she was wearing (it's so rare that she wears anything but a t-shirt and sweat pants these days), so I asked her if I could take a few photos of her. 

Here's what I got.

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(That look says "Mom. Please.")

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(And that's the "Here's what I think of my sisters" look.)

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("…And so I said like 'yeah,' and she said like 'yeah,' and so like he was like 'oh yeah'…")

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(I have no idea what those are, but I do know that Breanna should maybe switch her major from journalism to theatre.)

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(A-ha! There's the Bre I was looking for.)

Loved your dress, sweety. 🙂

Sabrina’s First Prom

Saturday was such a fun day for girly-girl things, and it almost didn't happen. Sabrina had not decided for sure if she wanted to attend the prom this year, and at the last minute she and her friend Max decided to go together. They both hung out with the same group of friends, they really didn't want to miss out on the social event of the year, and neither wanted to show up without a date, so why not? 

Off Sabrina went to choose a dress, and Max bravely faced the price tag on a tux. They coordinated everything via text messaging – from the colors of the flowers to what time they were to meet up with friends. Don't you just love modern technology? It's how these kids roll, I suppose.

But after all was texted and done, the end result was positively lovely, and I was proud of them. 🙂

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When Mike came home from work, he was as charmed as a dad can be, and lavished his baby girl with compliments… and she didn't mind one bit.

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He wanted to check out her new nails too. (Mike has the gentlest hands of anyone I know, and I always thought he'd make a great surgeon. 🙂 )

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(Btw, the new nails were a gift from her Meems!)

At 5:00 Max showed up, and despite his feeling like he looked silly in a tux (I imagine most boys feel silly in a tux at one point or another), he was quite handsome, and they looked very good together!

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Soon it was time to meet up with their other friends at a nearby gazebo…

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Sabrina and her best friend Katie are so much fun when they get together…

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Sophie can't wait til it's her turn!

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It was a beautiful evening, and I'm sure Sabrina and Max will agree… via text message, of course. 

 

Sunday Morning

I love to bake on Sunday mornings, so today I decided to make some Sour Cream Coffee Cake. It was the perfect companion to my 11th cup of coffee! I also made it bc Breanna came home last night, and I knew she'd join me for a piece this morning.

Here's the recipe…

SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE

1 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
3 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla
2-1/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
3 t. baking powder
1 c. sour cream
2/3 c. brown sugar
1-1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 Tbs. butter

Cream sugar and shortening together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder and sour cream. Spread batter into a greased and floured tube pan. Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Spread on top of batter in pan. Dot the topping with butter, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so.

Don't forget to brew a fresh pot of coffee!

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Happy Sunday. 🙂

Small Pleasures

I love sitting here blogging on quiet Saturday mornings. It's one of the things I look forward to on the weekends (although it doesn't always happen). Recently I've discovered a couple of other things I love, and I thought I'd share them with you.

Keep in mind, I'm only giving you my opinion on these things – and as my parents used to say, "Paulette, opinions are like b**t holes: everyone has one, and they all stink." (Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that was just my mom who said that, whenever I'd bring home an art project I made at school and told her I thought I did a good job on it.)

One of my favorite things to snack on is Wheat Thin crackers and slices of colby-jack cheese. But as I was passing through the cracker aisle at the grocery store the other day, I decided to try something different. And boy, was I glad I did!

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I was quite surprised at the flavor these had – not at all what I was expecting! (Actually, I have no idea what I was expecting, but it wasn't…that.) Absolutely DELICIOUS! And I didn't eat them with the cheese… I took one bite and just kept on eating them by themselves.

Another craving of mine are these little things… Breanna got me started on them when she brought home a bag once, and curiosity got the better of me. Boring package… big flavor. LOVE them!

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(Actually, I kind of like the package. It might be reflective of the simplicity of the ingredients… almonds, rice syrup, a little salt, and one more thing that I can't remember.) 

Last night I made Mystery Chicken Enchiladas.. this may sound scary, but I actually made up the recipe myself, and since it was a mystery to me as to how they'd turn out, I call them Mystery Chicken Enchiladas. 

They were fantastic, even if I must say so myself!

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Here's the recipe, if you'd like to try them… and remember, I don't have an ounce of Latino in me, which means they are nowhere near perfect enchiladas, but I still like them. 🙂 (Do you think Dutch people ever made enchiladas?)

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PAULETTE'S MYSTERY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

(Ingredients are in bold print for quick reference)

3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded and set aside.

Heat a skillet, and saute all of the following:

1/4 c. olive oil
 1 pkg. taco seasoning (I used Ortega)
 1/3 c. chopped onion
 2 Tbs. chopped jalapenos
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. fresh chopped cilantro

After you've cooked the above ingredients together for a minute or two, add them to the shredded chicken, along with 1/3 c. enchilada sauce from a large can. Mix well with a spoon.

Pour a little enchilada sauce from the can into a 9 x 13 pan.

Melt 2 Tbs. butter in a saucepan.

Fill 5 large tortillas with chicken mixture, and after rolling each one, place them into the 9 x 13 pan. Brush the melted butter on top of enchiladas, and drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce on top.

Top with however much shredded cheese you'd like (I used 2 cups shredded cheddar), and bake in a 425-degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly golden and bubbly. Serves 3-5.

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Another fun thing to love are Barbie movies. Yes, I said Barbie movies! If you've never watched one of these, you're in for a treat. And you don't have to have a little girl to enjoy them! They're for grown-up girls too, provided you're not in the mood for adult drama or reality tv. I find them to be very lighthearted, colorful, beautifully animated, and just plain fun!

Sophie and I have quite a collection of them.

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And usually she'll bring one along when she goes to visit her Meems. 🙂 They'll make popcorn and snuggle up under a quilt and watch one, and Sophie will have to answer all of my mom's questions, like, "Do you think Barbie knows how to make soup in a pressure cooker?" or "Do you think Barbie owns a Bernina? They really should make a Bernina Barbie." (Of course, since Barbie can do anything and owns everything, the answer is always "Yes, Meemee," with a heavy sigh.)

Speaking of popcorn, I'd like to say something to my dad: 

Dad, when I was little and you and Mom used to send me to bed, I'd always hear you say to Mom, "Hey. You want some P-O-P?" I always knew that this was a code word for "popcorn," bc shortly after you'd say it, I'd hear Mom shaking up the pan on the stove, popping the corn away. It really annoyed me, especially when I'd come out from my room and say in a small, timid voice, "Can I have some popcorn?" and you and Mom would glare at me for interrupting your viewing of the Lawrence Welk Show.

And then I'd turn away and go back to bed, hungry.

Just thought I'd say that to you after all these years. And I forgive you.

Back to Barbie. Here's what Sophie and I rented the other night to watch… and since we both loved it, I'll have to buy it!

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It's so much fun getting excited about things with Sophie. Her whole face lights up and she laughs when she talks. It's one of my very favorite things to love in the whole world.

And that's not just my opinion. Right, Meemee? 😉

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Finishes!

Here are some photos of the lovely finished pieces that some of you have been sweet enough to show to me! I love seeing them, and I'm just sorry it's taken me so long to post them – I also think I may be missing a few pictures, bc I have so many folders on my computer that I drop things into, and I imagine some of them may have ended up in the wrong place?

The first one here is from Patty… it's the freebie "Hares' Visit." Beautiful stitching, Patty! 🙂

PattysHaresVisit 

And here we have Marie-Odile's "J is for Jacob." Great job! Are you excited for Eclipse to come out?

MarieOdilesJacob 

Next up is Sylvia's "Be True" freebie… You did a wonderful job on it, and I'm really smitten with that little cat. 🙂

SylivasBeTrue 

And from one of the sweetest people I "know," here is Faye's "Hares' Lucky Day."  I love it, Faye!!

FayesLuckyDay 

This is Nancy's version of "Hares' Lucky Day," and the vintage lace she used for the trim is gorgeous… I wish I could find some, bc I'd use it for everything! I have some very old tatting my great-grandmother made, but I just can't bear to sew it onto anything. Anyway, thank you, Nancy!

NancysLuckyDay 

Btw, here's my great-grandmother's tatting…

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I love this finish by Nicole! This is her "Hares' Fathers Day."  

Nicole 

I'm honored that my very-first-ever-cyber-friend, Chris, even finished one! I've been begging her to get a blog for some time now, bc she has such an eye for vignettes and color. Here is her "Be True" finish – stitched over one, along with another stitched piece (Blackbird Designs?) that I absolutely love. (And don't be surprised if eventually you see a model photo of mine with lots and lots of buttons in it.. I just love that idea!)

Chris 

And lastly, I wanted to show you this amazing hooked rug by Mel… She took the "Hares' Easter Blessings" freebie and had it converted for hooking!  I love it and can't wait until she's finished!

Easter blessings rug
 
Thank you all so much for sending your photos to me.. I enjoy each and every one of them! Again, if you've sent me something and somehow I've missed it, I sincerely apologize.

I hope you've had a chance to take a look at The Needlework Show site!

Green.

Spring comes a little later around here than in some other places, so although I don't have much blooming around my house yet, I'm quite happy with the fresh spots of green here and there.

The baby sedum…

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The bee balm and the geranium from Mom's garden that she gave to me last year (although my dad was actually the one to haul it all over)…

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The lemon balm that Sophie and I love to touch, just so our hands can smell lemon-y…

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Our maple tree with its new spring leaves, which Sophie has learned to climb…

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And a beautiful new dress for Sabrina, who will be attending her prom this Saturday…

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Beautiful Day, part 2

When Mike took Sophie to the Keystone Snow Fort, Sabrina and I went off to ski. I'm not an expert skier like Bean (Bre is my snowboarder chick, and she couldn't go along with us bc she had classes to attend), nor do I aspire to be one. Although I love to go nice and straight and somewhat fast down a very easy bunny hill, I don't care for it when I actually have to try to control my skis. When that happens, the fun factor completely disappears for me. (And on the last run of the day – which also happened to be the steepest – I got to going SO FAST, I thought I was going to go airborne. After crashing down the mountain for what felt like 15 minutes of cartwheels, I opened my eyes to the bright sunshine, shocked that I was alive. The only thing that hurt me was my back, which got pelted with ice chunks when I started my own mini avalanche. A few moments later, Sabrina skied toward me and worriedly asked, "Mom, are you okay??!" I sat up and smiled, and she laughed and gave me the coolest compliment a teenager can give: "Mom, you are righteous!")

The next day, Sophie kept her promise to her dad and actually allowed he and Sabrina to teach her how to ski. They took her to a very small area to let her practice, and after only a couple of minor meltdowns, she got the hang of it and didn't want to stop. I, on the other hand, gave up after about an hour or so. Turns out my knee had taken quite a beating in the previous day's fall.

Here are some more photos from our trip…

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I'm convinced that Colorado doesn't use roosters to wake up, but rather giant crows. This one was all the way across the parking lot on top of another condo, and I was wishing I'd had a slingshot each morning it decided to kaw-kaw-kaw-kadoodle-doo…

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Why couldn't he be quiet like this guy, who was staring at him?

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Here was Sophie, on Promise Day…

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And here she was, a couple of days later!

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One of our favorite places to eat is Bubba Gump's in Breckenridge…

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Mike and I usually order the "Bucket of Boat Trash," but Sophie kept accidentally calling it the "Bucket of White Trash," which is why we don't let her place her own orders.

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Outside of the restaurant there is a bench with a pair of Forrest Gump's shoes that you can put your feet into to take a picture. This year, however, there was only one shoe. We're thinking someone stole the other one.

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When we're no
t eating out or walking in the village or skiing or sitting in the lodge, Sophie's favorite thing in the world to do is to swim in the outdoor heated pool when the temps are freezing. This is one of my favorite photos bc each night in the condo, when we were all worn out, we would pop in a dvd of The Office and eat popcorn. If you've ever watched The Office, you'll know exactly who Sophie looks like:

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(Every time Dwight Schrute stares at the camera and smirks after saying "Assistant Regional Manager – same thing," I crack up.)

I also love this photo…

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Sabrina scored some new goggles in a shop in Breckenridge. These suckers were expensive. Do you know how many Starbucks beverages I could have purchased for these things? Okay, not very many, but that's beside the point.

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We also went snowmobiling on the Continental Divide while we were there. Once I got over the roar of the snowmobile and learned how not to be the slowest one of the group, it was a really neat experience. It's amazing how quiet it is at 12,500 feet. (That is, once Mike stops talking. For those of you who know Mike, you're laughing right now and nodding your head.)

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Here we are with our instructor, Oz…

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And here is Sophie, trying to decide whether or not to use the Port-o-Pines, as Oz called them, or wait until we got back home. 

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It was a really nice spring break, and I thank you for stopping by to share it with me. My knee is still giving me troubles, but it's nothing a few hot cocoas won't take care of. And at least I got out of playing any bored games in the condo this year. (I'd rather have both of my knees blown out in a thunderous avalanche than to do that.)

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