Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dreaming and Planning

Hey friends! I'm taking a few days off to work on these...


I love this time of year. 
Just after the holidays. 
It's an exciting time sitting on the edge of a new year.
Creating the future. 
Full of possibilities.

What are you dreaming up for the New Year?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Greetings

May you find joy in your heart this Christmas!

With love,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Around the House

I tend to decorate by mood.  This year feels rustic, shiny and sparkly. Here's a little of what I've been up to...

I love the rustic touch of a well placed antler...

  My family thinks I may have a problem...
I purchased this gorgeous piece from my sweet friend Natalie of Sparrow. The addition of fir boughs and red pears dressed it up for Christmas...

Just a few more gifts left to wrap...

Adding a little holiday cheer to our back porch makes hauling in groceries a pleasant task...

How do you decorate your home for the holidays?

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tips for Tackling Christmas Week

It's here - Christmas week.  How do you prepare?  What keeps you on track and your stress level down during this busy week?

We are hosting a big family gathering on the 23rd and again on Christmas day.  Being organized helps to keep things fairly sane around here! For me, being organized starts with a list.

This morning finds me propped up with a cup of coffee and spiral notebook in hand.  I have two lists started.  One titled home, the other go. My lists are not fancy. I keep them handy and write things down as I think of them. My home list is filled with everything I need to do around the house. The go list includes everything away from home. A wise woman once said, let paper remember so you can forget!

Another tool I use to keep me organized and sane is a daily chore list from the Home Ec 101 blog.  There is a little note posted with a short list of chores for the day.

Home Ec 101 blog by Heather Solos can be found here.
This works well for my slightly ADHD personality.  Keeps me focused, it's short and not overwhelming.  By doing these daily chores my house stays clean and it's not a big deal to get ready for company.

Three more tips:

Don't give up your daily exercise! For me, it's hard enough to be motivated on a normal day. During a busy week it's so easy to let this one slide. Don't do it! You will love yourself for taking the time to de-stress by some type of daily work out.  Walk, run, bike, gym, weights, dvd. Whatever it is... just do it!

Remember the reason for the season. I love to read the story of Jesus birth found in Luke chapter two verses 1-20.  I also like to read a touching story throughout the season.  Jan Karon's book Shepherds Abiding is a good read.

Have fun! Be flexible. Even with lists and organization things don't always go exactly as planned. Enjoy the moment and the people in your life. That's what it's all about!

I'm off for a morning run!

If you have any questions or tips on getting through this busy week you can leave a comment or contact me by e-mail -

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Best Chili Ever, I'm sure of it.

Yes, that's what I said.  The best chili ever.

My husband is an awesome hunter and brings home the best free-range, organic protein any carnivorous girl could ask for.  This fabulous protein typically includes salmon, crab, elk and venison.

A friend passed this recipe along to us (thank you Grace).  It is from Field & Stream Magazine.

Field and Stream Editor's Venison Chili Recipe

Makes 12 servings

A spicy chili made with venison. A sure winner in a chili cookoff!

2 lbs venison
1/4 lb bacon, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
2 oz canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce , seeded and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp molasses
1 pint Guinness or other stout beer
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 c whole plum tomatoes , or 1 whole can
350 g crushed tomatoes or 1 whole can
650 g black beans or 2 whole cans
  1. In large pan, saute venison until just cooked. Drain and set aside. Cook in batches if necessary to keep from crowding in the pan.
  2. In a large pot with a heavy bottom, saute bacon over medium heat until it's brown and has given up its fat. Remove and set aside.
  3. Saute onions and peppers in the bacon fat, stirring frequently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and vinegar and cook for two minutes. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cook, stirring often, for about three minutes. Add venison and bacon. Stir well and cook for one minute.
  4. Add honey, molasses, beer, wine and tomatoes. Mix well, bring to a boil, adjust heat to low.
  5. Cook at a slow simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and stir frequently. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more chili powder or chipotle chillies if you want more heat.
  6. Add beans and cook for another hour, continuing to stir. The chili is done when it's thick enough to your liking.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Notes from the cook:
This was a fantastic recipe. In mine and my husband's opinion it really is the best chili we've ever had!

This recipe can also be made with ground beef, turkey etc. if you do not have access to venison.

I used my crock pot.  If you would like to do the same, transfer the venison to your slow cooker after step one.  Continue as directed through step 4. Transfer veggies to crock pot and simmer for an hour or two before adding the beans in step 6.

This has such an interesting combination of heat and flavors from the chipotle chilis, honey, molasses and cinnamon to the Guinness and red wine.  Delicious.

A big crusty loaf of bread is the perfect compliment to this fantastic chili.



Friday, December 9, 2011

five things that make me happy

colorful umbrellas.

 any candy shop. anytime. anywhere.

this one happens to be in Paris

these adorable little girls agree!

books. books. and more books.

The Long Room at Trinity College in Dublin.  
 One of the most beautiful rooms I've ever had the privilege to visit.
a really good burger.

Worth a try.

barn doors. indoors.
a gorgeous fireplace.

What makes you happy?

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Old Fashioned Christmas

Today is the day...

The Monticello Christmas Show starts at 8:00am!

Everything is so beautiful.  Let me show you...

 If you live in the area and would like to see more...

Monticello Antique Marketplace
8600 SE Stark Street
Portland, OR

You can go to Monticello's web page here.

Have a wonderful weekend,