Previous month:
October 2008
Next month:
December 2008

November 2008


We're heading out in a few hours to see my inlaws and celebrate Thanksgiving.  On the road with millions of others, juggling kids, suitcases, thanksgiving dishes, and a dog in the 'way back'.  This year will be a small table of 6, which is nice and cozy.  I'm sure we will still manage to eat too much, work a puzzle and fall asleep early.

Anyway, I thought I'd wish anyone stopping by a wonderful start to the holiday season.  I hope everyone gets a chance to hug their loved ones and remember the many ways we are so very blessed. 


Window Dressing

It's beginning to look more like Christmas around here.


Even in the kitchen.

decking the curtains

Several yards of grosgrain tied onto ornaments, attached to the curtain rings.  This is a new addition to my hall-decking this year, and it is yielding quite a bit of pop for the effort. 

Any tricks up your sleeves?

Christmas Thrifty

I'm jumping into Christmas this year because if I wait until after Thanksgiving and the MU-KU game and our house guests, it will be December before I get anything up.  And that, folks, is just plain wrong.  I kind of go ape when it comes to Christmas. 

So today I resolved to spend extra time here and there purging my house of the autumn decor.  But first I stopped by a couple thrift shops -- looking for some vintage ornaments and maybe some gifts. 

These perfume bottles were just too adorable.  And a bargain, if you ask me, at .50 each.

Christmas Tree perfume bottles

I could not pass up this strange and cute mushroom tea set for Fidge.  The cups are only about 2 inches tall.  It is a complete set of 3 plates, saucers and cups.  $1.00.

Little plastic mushroom tea set

And ornaments.  Egads.  I cannot tell you how awesome it is to walk out with tons of glass ornaments at $1 a box when Target is selling them for $7-10. 

vintage ornaments, 15 for $1.

This box of 15 was $1.60.  Perfect.  In the original box with placeholders for storage.  Can't beat that.  Can I tell you how much I love ornaments in random vases and baskets in my house?  There is something inherently cheery about that.  Maybe it's the shiny thing.

One of my favorite places to go is actually part of a retirement village.  Many families donate items to this thrift shop when a loved one has passed away.  I have found the quality of vintage goods superb.  Linens, embroidery, kitchenware and--OH-- the craft supplies!  It is well stocked.  Even better, the sweetest volunteers work the counter. They are always impressed when a relative youngster like me shows up at the counter with some embroidered tea towels or a crewelwork pillow.  :)   Happy thrifting!

oh, how my mind wanders.

Looks like I've taken a bit of a blog break.  Unintentional, but I haven't had much to post about. Lots of things floating about in my mind, though.  For instance: 

The upcoming holidays.

Little giftish projects.  Things I can't post here, unfortunately.  Peekers.

New recipes -- I'm cooking a lot more lately.  Not a bad thing.  Not so great for the waistline, though.  Most of my recipes have involved heavy cream lately.  Yu-Um.

My November block for Twelve Square.  I'm not sure what direction to take it.

Friends.  I am so lucky to have good ones.


Paying 1.69 for gas.  I know it will be short lived, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Socks.  I need some more.   Last year's all seem to have holes in them.  Did I never cut my toenails?  What's up with that?  I am loving funky patterned knee highs.

Knock off Uggs.  I want some.  Every year I treat myself to new slippers because I work at home, and every year I trash them completely.   Slippers, evidently, are not meant to be worn 12 hours a day.  I think KOU's would fit the comfy-but-durable bill just fine.

My hair.  I loved it short this summer, but now that the wintry cold is kissing the back of my neck (even indoors!) I wonder if it is time to grow it out a bit.  Better make up my mind before my appt on Saturday.

The Twilight movie.  What's the deal?  Should I read the books?  Is it something so culturally significant that I am handicapping myself socially by not getting sucked in? 

See?  It's all random and strange.  But there you go.

What's on your mind?

Soup: like barbeque in a sourdough bowl

berry branches on the table

I feel kind of strange posting this recipe from Ann Lund.  She doesn't have it anywhere on her website -- although she does post others that you can print, like Carmelized Onion and Raspberry Brie.  I am so trying that.

Ann is a Kansas City area cooking instructor and author of the "Dining in Style" cookbooks.  One of the girls in my bookclub recently took her class and we were all treated to a complete Ann Lund spread for dinner when it was her turn to host.  Heavens to Betsy, it was delicious. 
The star on that cold, drizzly Monday night was Ann Lund's Smoked Bacon and Black Bean Soup.  I'm telling you, we smelled it from outside and floated into her house on its rich flavory aroma alone.  
Smoked Bacon and Black Bean Soup
10 slices of lean bacon, meaty smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, pressed (I used 4 tsp of jarred minced garlic because )
2 (14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
2 (15 oz)  cans of diced tomatoes (puree them in your blender)
2 Tbl ketchup
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbl. chili powder
4 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, juiced
Garnish: cilantro, scallions, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese
1) Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. 
2) Cook it until it starts to give up the fat, about 4 min. 
3) Stir in the onions and the cook, stirring, until they start to turn transluscent, about 4 minutes. 
4) Stir in the garlic and cook until your can smell it, about one minute. 
5) Add the broth, pureed tomatoes, ketchup, Worc. Sauce, and chili powder. 
6) Stir in the beans, and lime juice, bring the mixture to a boil. 
7) Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. 
8) Season with salt and pepper
9) Finish the soup with the garnish ingredients as desired.   
(cool 2 hrs before refrigerating) 
I think this would be awesome in a sourdough bread bowl with cheese and sour cream and chives.  Beware, this soup is stewy and rich.  It is like barbeque in a pot and is totally a man-soup.  You could smear this behind your ears and draw them in with the bacony goodness.  Enjoy.  ;)
And I have no pictures of the soup because I was too busy eating.   So here's another look at the berries on my table.  The morning sun is pretty these days, too.

Fall at the Kansas City Zoo

On Sunday, we piled into the station wagon (my little sister finds infinite joy in poking fun at my ultimate mom-mobile, so I like to refer to it by name much as possible.  Because I totally rock the Station Wagon, sis.) and took advantage of yet another perfect Autumn day.  The animals were out, lazing about in the sun, enjoying the cooler temperatures.  It was so beautiful.  And we had it mostly to ourselves.


We are lucky to have such a large zoo that winds its way through wooded areas, around ponds and lakes, over both a river and train tracks.

sunny tall grass

leaves in the creek

The color is brilliant right now.  These trees didn't even look real to me.

fall color at the zoo 

And this little path by the baboons was strewn with leaves of every color and shape.  (Hmm... little wonder my allergies are acting up this week, huh?)

leafy paths.

The zoo doesn't always seem like a go-to outing for us in the fall.  But I'm so glad we did. 

Tomorrow: Bacon and Black Bean Soup.  Be warned.  It's soup, but it's bacon. Smells delish, but men come running.  You might save a little and dab it behind your ears.


fall branches

Still savoring the golden light of fall.

Branches from our crabapple? cherry? berry? tree in a pitcher on the kitchen table.  Love.  Although the leaves are very droppy.

Managing (with little success) fall allergies that cause my eyelids to turn to sandpaper.  Ouch.

Catching up on work, which is tricky when the monitor hurts my eyes.

Looking superbly cool in my glasses with a pair of large round sunglasses OVER them while driving.  Because it is very awesome to enter a restaurant to meet your friend for lunch, remove your oversized cheapo target sunglasses, only to reveal your real specs underneath.  It's like I'm still dressed up for Halloween, only as a total dorkwad.

Halloween Postscript

The tights worked out just fine.  The bagginess ended up being more of an issue than the color.  Fidget?  She didn't care. 

Emily Elizabeth and Clifford

walking baby clifford

Voted today.  Missouri is considered a bellweather state, and right now it's 50-50.  It will be interesting (in a nail biting way) watching the results tonight.  Whatever happens, I am content with the knowledge that my phone will stop ringing 6 times daily with recorded messages from politikers and we can get back to commercials about gutter helmets, cleaning products, and ED.