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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 3 of FOOD+FOTO

cranberries, originally uploaded by susan736.
I am in week three of Miss B.'s FOOD+FOTO class. I have to admit, it has been more difficult than I anticipated. I have never staged a photograph before. (Other than trying to get my children to sit still!). Staging and lighting food so that it looks like something you would want to eat is proving to be a lot more challenging than it looks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Martha Stewart's Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have never met a Martha Stewart cookie recipe that I didn't like.

The cookies in my FOOD+FOTO pictures are from Martha.  And they are (well, were) as delicious as they look.  And, they have oatmeal and raisins in them, which, in my book, qualifies them as both healthy and a breakfast food. 

If you would like to eat cookies for breakfast without feeling guilty, make this recipe.  Now.

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 tsp salt
  2 sticks (16 tbsps) unsalted butter, room temperature
  3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  2 large eggs
  1 tsp vanilla extract
  2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  1 1/2 cups raisins
  1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until ight and fluffy.

2.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Add dry ingredients; beat just until combined.  Add oats, raisins and chocolate chips; beat just until combined.

3.  Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies have spread and are golden brown but still soft to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:  I accidentally used quick cooking oats and the recipe turned out fine.  The recipe says it will make 32 cookies, I had about 48.  Also, I used salted butter rather than unsalted.  I always use salted butter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Obsessing Over Square Boxwood Wreaths - and another DIY Wreath

I am in love with square wreaths this season, especially ones made of boxwood.  How can you resist these?

available on Etsy  

I absolutely love this one against the red door.
available at Williams Sonoma

You can hang the wreaths inside, if you prefer.

Me, I plan to hang mine inside AND outside, with a ribbon through the center and a bow at the bottom. 

Since no wreath posting would be complete without a DIY idea - go to Better Homes and Gardens for the DIY tutorial for the wreaths above.


Love, 40

Best Birthday Card Ever!

Thank you, 35, for the best birthday sentiments I have ever received!  Only Mick Jagger appearing in the flesh on my doorstep could have topped those awesome pictures!



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, 40!

Happy Birthday, Big Sister!  I really wanted to get you this, but I was afraid it might gross everyone out.  Instead, I decided to just give you some nice things to look at. 
I love you-

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Souvenir Foto School FOOD+FOTO Week 2 Submissions

These are the images I submitted for week 2 of the Souvenir Foto School.  I couldn't decide which image I preferred, so I submitted several, hoping that members of the group would give me feedback on what they do and do not like about each image.

Playing with the depth of field.

Just cookies.

More cookies

Bagels and ceam cheese

To take take the cookie photos, I ventured out of my comfort zone.  Generally, I like to take pictures of things as I find them.  This time, I created the background and manipulated the items for each picture.  I generally like the way the pictures turned out, what do you think?

Love, 40

Still Dreaming of Backyard Skating Rinks

Until recently, my husband did not share my enthusiasm for a backyard rink.  He thought a rink would be too expensive, too hard to put together, and too much work to maintain.  Well, I found something that finally changed his mind - a backyard skating rink kit!  There are many kits online, but I like this one.   In fact, my husband is so on board with the idea that he even talked a co-worker into buying a kit for his home! 

Now, as far as maintenance of the rink is concerned...that's what the children are for!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Backyard Skating Rinks

I have been dreaming of my very own backyard skating rink. 

Something like this would be nice:

Our afternoons would be filled with the kids and their friends gliding around the rink.

Afterwards, we would all sip hot chocolate:

While doing this:

Wouldn't that be fun?

Love, 40

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vinyl Wall Decals

Funny you should mention that quote, 35, as I just came across the magnet with that quote on it that I bought with you many years ago. It is a great quote, for sure.

I also lust over vinyl wall decals. The trouble is, there are so many great quotes and pictures to choose from that I just can't make up my mind.  Of course, you can never go wrong with a monogram...  This one had me at hello:

Another great source for vinyl decals is wall words, which I believe used to be wonderful graffiti.  And don't forget etsy!

Can't wait to see your new decorations!

Love, 40

Keep on truckin'

"It is never too late to become what you might have been"
-George Eliot

I have always liked this quote but it always just served as a vague reminder to me that I still had time to figure it all out.   Now more than ever it has taken on new meaning for me. As someone who has gone back to graduate school slightly older, with a small child and that ever present goddamned mortgage knocking on my door every month, I am often disheartened by the twenty-somethings that I am surrounded by.  I need more than ever to remember this.  Read it every day, shout it from the rooftops, WRITE IT ON MY WALLS.  Keep pressing on, move forward, you don't want to get dragged down by the "shoulda, coulda, woulda's".  It serves no purpose.   And with that, I think I really might write it on my wall- a Sharpie would work but how about this instead?  And while I am ordering that, I might order this:

cuckoo clock

P.S.  I want to mention, when I searched this online to confirm that quote was George Eliot, there is some debate whether she really wrote it or not.  I hate giving out incorrect information and must add this disclaimer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No, You Are Not Twiggy

But I bet you could pull off that hairstyle. In fact, I think you are right, you already wore that style - in 7th grade. But that was very much part of Twiggy's appeal, wasn't it? That she looked like a child, a young boy, to be exact, much of the time. And weren't you mistaken for a boy several times in your youth? You were high style and didn't even know it!

Anyway, I say go for it, if you really want to. You only live once. Hair grows back. But you have to promise to wear your eyelashes like Twiggy, too, if you do the hair.

So, all this talk of Twiggy had me searching for other 60's hairstyles. Which, of course, lead me straight to Marianne Faithful. She was one cool chick. I just had to share this picture of her and Mick Jagger. Isn't it sweet?

I don't know who looks prettier, Mick or Marianne. Well, yeah, I do.
Love, 40

Great Gifts for Shutterbugs

Have you heard of Photojojo?

They have some really cool stuff for photographers and photography buffs.

I need this:It's not a new lens...

It's a stainless steel coffee mug! So cool. It even has a lid in the shape of a lens cover. They have Nikon and Canon cups. And the zoom feature on the Nikon cup really zooms. Fun.

Love, 40

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am not Twiggy

I am supposed to be writing a paper- three papers by December 9th, to be exact. Which is why I am currently cruising the Web for anything to distract me. This is also why I am currently seriously considering a new hairstyle. One like this:
Please, 40- STOP ME!!! Doesn't it look suspiciously like the haircut I had in 7th grade? It sure looks good on Twiggy, though. The more I look at it the more I like it. What do you think, 40? How very sorry would I be? (And how very ugly would I look??) Wow- I love it though!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Note to 35 About Christmas Wreaths

I am not ignoring your challenge, my dear sister. In fact, I went to Michael's this weekend intending to buy the materials for our cheap wreath. But, I just can't do it. My heart belongs to the wreath of felted wool balls, not its cheap imitation cousin. I am now trying to determine just how guilty I will feel if I use some of my X-Mas fund money to buy the more expensive balls.

Serendipity and Vintage Fisher Price

On Friday, I took my two boys to an estate sale. I was worried about how the outing would go -my 12-year old was not too keen on the idea when I first suggested it, and, well, with the 3-year old, you just never know.

It turned out that both boys had a blast. For a treasure hunter and collector like my 12-year old, the estate sale turned out to be a wonderland. The woman who owned the house was a collector, too. There were bags and bags of beautiful shells and sea glass she had collected throughout her years of travel. Old urns, pieces of fences, and architectural pieces greeted us at every turn. My son went home with a PS2 game system, 14 games, and a ziploc bag full of "rare" blue sea glass.

My 3-year old amused himself by playing with the house dog and old toys, talking to everybody who crossed his path, and running through every room of the rambling house.

As for me, when I saw a tub full of vintage Fisher Price toys, I knew I had to buy them. I had recently read on Sarah's blog that she buys vintage Fisher Price toys for her children. I loved the idea of buying some vintage FP, and searched for some on ebay. I really wanted the amusement park series, but all of the toys offered on ebay were either too expensive or in poor condition. Now, right in front of me, in a plastic tub on a dirty basement floor, were the toys I had been lusting after on ebay, in perfect condition and for less money. Serendipity.

I bought a merry-go-round:

A circus train:

Seven little people:

And a ferris wheel.

The cost for everything was $25. Watching my boys play with their treasures for hours after we returned home - priceless.
It was a great day.

Love, 40

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Souvenir Foto School Photo #1

Sneaky Baby, originally uploaded by susan736.

I am participating in Tristan's Souvenir Foto School this session. This time, the theme is food. The students will be posting their pictures to the Flickr group FOOD+FOTO by midnight Sunday of each week. This picture is my first submission. Head over to Tristan's blog, or Flickr see all of the great pictures that have been entered.

Love, 40

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I must be getting old

I should have titled this post- "No really, I'm serious". I love this! I can't stop listening. Honestly, how about that Julio? I mean, Willie has always been Willie and he's great. When we were young, our dad certainly went through his Willie Nelson phases. We even saw him at the State Fair once. But I am developing a new fascination for Julio. I actually think that this is the only song I have every heard by him. But I am thinking I need to invest in some more of his music. I want to have a dinner party and play only Julio. For real. I'm not kidding. And anyway, I had to distance myself from all that Christmas talk, I can't take it this early in the season.


P.S. Who doesn't love some good old fashioned cheesy pin-ups? Your welcome.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Or take the lazy route

You can get this wreath here, at Anthropologie for $148. A bit pricey, yes. But I find being lazy always costs more in the end. And actually, I must say it is still not as pretty as the one with the felted balls. But even if you don't love the wreath, it is worth a peek at their website just to see the animated ornament catalog. So cute it makes me want to puke.
And with that, maybe I'll throw down a challenge to 40: in the next few weeks, let's try to make the cheap pom pom wreath. After all, surely ours will be beautiful!

More Cute and Easy DIY Christmas Wreaths

Here is a cheaper, though not quite as cute, version of the pompom wreath I posted earlier:

Instuctions for making it can be found here:
This wreath is also really cute. And it would be very cheap, fast, and easy to make. I would replace the flowers with some cute buttons or large pompoms. (The other kind, not the kind on the wreath above.)

Instructions on making this wreath can be found here

Love, 40

Pretty DIY Christmas Wreaths

I am thinking about making this wreath for Christmas:
image via Pickles

Instructions on how to make it can be found here http://http//

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

quote of the day

"Till there was rock, you only had god."
I always loved this one.
Well, 40 and I were talking the today and we said, "hey, whatever happened to our blog? Is it still out there??". Sure enough, here it is.
Okay, fine, we're slackers. We never denied that. We were very upfront about it, actually. We're always honest, atleast. But we might just give this a whirl once again. Watch out world.
We're back.