Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday "Cook" Off!

This challenge is for those of you who thrive on completing menu plans, or who come alive when it's time to plan a party. There are two levels to the challenge. It's not necessarily a contest... Really a way to share our deepest culinary dreams. So here we go...

Plan a complete Christmas Eve Dinner menu, start to finish, for your four virtual guests who will be arriving in two days. A theme would be fun, but is not necessary. If you would like, you can include links to recipes. **I would love that!!**

The dinner must include the following 5 elements:
  • Appetizers
  • Soup & Salad
  • Entrees & Side Dishes (at least two sides)
  • Desserts
  • Beverages/Cocktails
When completed, post your menu as a comment on this blog, or email it to me if it is too long for the comment box and I will publish it as a follow-up post on our blog!

Challenge A:
The sky is the limit. You have no price limits, and all ingredients are available to you. However, remember you have only 2 days!!

Challenge B:
Precisely the same as Challenge A, except for a price limit.

Your price limit for the dinner (all elements included) is $40.
That means only $40 for a meal for five persons, or $8 per plate.

** If you are really bored or extra ambitious, feel free to submit a price list, detailing the costs of your dinner! Brownie points for you! (I know... You really just want the brownie! Sorry!)**

Let the challenge begin!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Twas the month before Christmas...

Now that Thanksgiving is officially past, Christmas is less than a month away! I've already put the snowman doormat outside the front door with a holiday wreath hanging above. A few Christmas fixtures and garlands are hung, snowman snow globes are on the coffee table, and there are two stockings hanging over the fireplace.

Steve and I have established a few traditions since we've been married. As with all traditions, they take time to develop. I'll share a few of them at the end, but I wanted to throw out an idea first. I've thought of doing paper prayer/thought stockings around the fireplace since it's just the two of us and it looks so lonely. We can't have all our family and friends here in person, but perhaps they could be with us in spirit and in thought. =)

Simply post a message and/or prayer request in the comment box on here or send me a message on Facebook, and I'll create a stocking for you/your family to post on our wall so we will have a reminder to think of you and pray for you throughout the holiday season!

Hornaday House Traditions:

  • Tour of Lights. Steve and I pour steaming hot cocoa into a thermos for each of us. We dig through the cupboards to find canned goods we can donate to needy families. We then bundle up with coats, gloves, mittens, and scarves, and hop in the car to take a drive through the neighborhood that is known for its many blocks of creative, unique light displays. Blocks and blocks of painted wooden cut-outs, moving creatures, musical displays... It's so much fun! At the beginning of the tour, you donate your canned goods and they give each person a free mini candy cane to enjoy during the tour. One of our favorite displays from last year was a house that was completely decorated with lights, except one strand or lights was hanging down half-way across the garage. At the end of the strand of lights, was the Grinch pulling them down and putting them in his bag! SO funny!

  • Whenever we can make it back to Wisconsin to visit my family, we really enjoy driving through the Rotary Lights as well. So many childhood memories there!

  • Christmas Tree. We don't have a set time for putting up our Christmas tree. It's sort of whenever we get to it. Hot cocoa is, again, one of our tradition elements. =) We start a fire in the fireplace, put "White Christmas" with Bing Cosby on the tv, pour ourselves some hot cocoa, and decorate the tree.. Nothing says Christmas like Bing's satiny voice! It's fun to tell the stories of each of the ornaments as we hang them on the tree. I ALWAYS use multi-colored lights. Steve and I both have memories of falling asleep by the glow of Christmas lights. Neither of our families were big on Santa Claus.

  • Christmas Eve Dinner. Growing up, my mom (Barb), had always put together a fondue dinner for Christmas Eve. I remember being tiny and having to wait for my color stick to be placed in the pot by an adult and then asking every minute if it was done yet. Since I don't know much about doing fondue, and Steve's family has never really done it, we tend to skip it when we're in Oregon. I've begun making enchiladas instead, with lots of green chilies and red peppers for a festive touch.

  • Presents. My family always opened presents on Christmas Eve. I think we still tend to do that, however it gets a little confusing between all the families. As we got older, we began drawing names. We do that off and on from year to year.
That's about all the traditions we have. What about you and your family??

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who is this Stig guy?

Local badboy...

International legend...

He's been known to...do anything.


Along with some friends of ours, we enjoy watching BBC's Top Gear. Best car show I've EVER seen. A key feature to the show is their mysterious team racing driver, The Stig.

For our friend, who is a new dad for the third time (baby girl), I brainstormed the following. Hope he likes it! =)

Printed image off the net & cut with Xacto knife:

Secured stencil to onesie with packing tape:

Used permanent marker to create the image (Silver & Black):


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Loathed Loves

The following are my loathed loves - the things I love, but hate to need...

My nose loves...
My sinuses and mouth love:

My immune system loves:

My miserable mind loves:

My chilled body loves:

Whether it's temporary allergies or a miserable cold, I'm going to be warm and comfy today!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meet... The Unnamed Dog!

The dog with no name. She is a sweet mutt. She is definitely not a pure bred and she could use a lot of training, but she's full of love and snuggles!

She may be small, but she's a bundle of high-strung energy. She would run with the best of them...if only she had four legs. But she doesn't let that keep her down!

She is a tactile pet. She loves to be touched and petted. The more, the better! She is made from many different materials including cotton, fleece, flannel, vinyl, terry cloth, and pom-poms. Inside, she is full of surprises! Some of those surprises are cotton batting, flax seed, denim, and bubble wrap! There is more... But we'll let that be her little secret.

She's a young pup and still gets tired. She's never down for long. Her quick "cat naps" replenish that youthful vigor and she's on the run again!

The biggest mystery about this lil' pup isn't her name. It's her owner! The above picture is a hint of who she's on her way to see! Can you guess? Hint #2: She's also small and full of energy!

Thanks for checking out my latest creation! Hope to make more soon!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Old Out, New In

Happy November, Everyone!

I love November -- for so many reasons.

For starters, it begins with my birthday: November 4th.

I also love the cooler weather, the beautiful colors in nature, and the deliciously "healthy" foods! Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin everything. Caramelized butternut squash. Casseroles made of anything you can think of.

I was standing in line at Safeway looking at the latest cookbook featuring photos of mouth-watering casseroles. I found a picture that looked so tantalizing and held it up for Steve and said, "Doesn't that look delicious??" The guy at the register responded, "That looks great! My mom makes a really good casserole. It's the sloppy joe one." I was excited for the reminder, "Yeah!! The one with the biscuits on top!!" He started to look hungry, "Yes! That one! With LOTS of cheese. Tons of Mozzarella cheese!" Wow... I'm getting hungry again just thinking of that conversation. (I just love the friendly cashiers at my local shops.)

Then there's all the delicious treats and snacks! Caramel apples. Toasted pumpkin seeds. Caramel corn. Orange cranberry bread. Snacky mixes (Gardetto's & Chex Mix). Mixed nuts. Trust me. I can keep going... But enough with the torture!

I wanted to share this little (gigantic) part of my morning ritual with you. Each morning, I wake up and head for the bathroom. Almost immediately, I peek out the curtain to see what the day is going to be like... and there it is.

That huge, gorgeous work of art that is my weather tree. It towers over the neighbors' apartments and, some mornings, greets me with a wave. It tells me if it's a calm day or if the winds are going to howl. It sometimes pulls the clouds close around its shoulders, letting me know that it's a chilly morning, and I might want to wait it out under the warmth of my covers. Other days it's dancing in the sunshine with its arms thrown high in the air, swaying and rejoicing in the beauty of its surroundings. That's when it tells me that I've stayed in bed way too long, and I'm missing, possibly, one of the best days of my life! That's my weather tree. Love it! Often, its buddy, the crow, sits atop its head. I'm not quite sure the role of that crow. I haven't figured out if he's a protector of the neighborhood watching out for all the animals below, or if he's looking for someone to eat... The other constant is the squirrel. Some day I'll have to discover and share the true characters of this little world I live in here at Chemeketa House, and share with you their many adventures.

Yes, it's November. It's the first of the month. It's payday. =)
I was so happy to check my bank account and see $$ for the first time in weeks! I was explaining to Steve how the ability and the act of paying my bills is so satisfying to me - right down to the very tips of my toes. Clicking "submit" and receiving the confirmation email is to me as finding an 80% Off clearance sale with all the right sizes and colors is to a shopaholic. Crossing off that next bill is so fulfilling. It is proof to me each month that God is always faithful. This morning I also read Kirra's story of God's faithfulness on her blog "Kirra Sue: Everyday Lovies". Tears!

Another part of ushering in a new month is Ebay auction prep and execution. The items in our house have a pretty high turnover rate. Mostly because the majority of "stuff" in our house is Ebay inventory. One of my occasional jobs and favorite parts of assisting Steve is helping with the packaging and shipping of items. We have a special place in our hearts for flat rate boxes.

I have to admit that the true joy of the packaging and shipping process is... BUBBLE WRAP! I love love love this stuff. I quite regularly get scolded for popping it while wrapping up an item. I can't help myself! I would be so happy to be stuck in a room that is wall-papered with giant bubble wrap. I might even pay for the pleasure.

While in my haste to get the old out and the new in, I almost tossed out one of the "new" before I even knew it existed. I recently received my One Kings Lane purchase of the cutest Reston Lloyd Harvest Tea Kettle! It's great!

What I didn't know was that OKL had included a sweet little notepad with my purchase! How cool is that?

Today I ordered a set of six Artland Ice Beverage Glasses. I'm pretty excited!

Next time OKL has a sign-up bonus of $15, you must do it! My teakettle and my glasses cost me only $5 each, including shipping and handling!


Happy November from Steve & I! We hope you have a beautifully blessed Fall 2010!