Sunday, November 18

German Glass Glitter Again, and A Recipe for You!

German Glass Glitter Project
Well, I finished my glitter glass ornaments!  I mentioned them in an earlier post, and said I'd post pictures when I was done.  I really love how they turned out.  It's certainly different than regular glitter, but it's also very unique, which makes it stand out.   I made two sets of ornaments that have a little cluster of mini pine cones at the top, and a garland with ten bulbs covered in glitter glass and adorned with artificial pine sprigs and cute little bows.  I really love the way they turned out!  They're all for sale, but I guess that if no one buys them, I can enjoy them.  Here are some pictures:

If you are interested in seeing the listings for these, please visit The Sunflower Tree on Etsy.

Who Loves Cookie Dough?
One of my favorite things to eat is cookie dough.  When I was younger, I ate it, raw eggs and all, and never gave it a second thought.  I never got sick from it, either, but food safety seems to be dicier now than it used to be, with contaminated this and that everywhere you look.  So I've adapted my favorite cookie dough to adjust it for an absence of egg, thus making raw cookie dough safe to eat as a comfort food after a long day.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
2 TBSP butter, warmed in microwave for 15-20 seconds
1 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP brown sugar, lightly packed
3 heaping TBSP peanut butter
Splash of vanilla
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4-1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Soften the butter in the microwave, but do not melt it.  If you accidentally melt it, allow it to cool  for a while before continuing.  Having the butter too hot will melt your chocolate chips.  I mean, it's okay if you're into that sort of thing.  I won't judge you.  Stir in the sugars, peanut butter, and vanilla, mixing well until smooth.  Add the flour, mix well.  Add the chocolate chips.  Enjoy the deliciousness!

Christmas Decorating...It's Almost Time!
I am just so ready to do my Christmas decorating already this year.  I don't know why I want to rush through the Thanksgiving holiday.  This is truly my favorite time of the year, between fall and the beginning of winter, and I always look forward to the beauty of leaves changing and the first snowfall.  I guess that since both of those things have happened, I'm ready to start Christmas!  I've even been listening to Christmas music.  One thing that will be different this year is that we plan to decorate our shrubs out in front of our house.  With the exception of last year, I have wrapped our two porch columns in real fir garland and topped with a bright red bow, which always looks nice, but this year I persuaded my hubby to agree to outdoor lighting, and I'm just too excited.  I'll be sure to post pictures, so that you can experience the awesomeness, too!  Happy decorating!

I doubt I'll be posting again before Thanksgiving, so here's a picture of a butter turkey, and my wishes for you to have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  
"Gobble gobble gooooobbbbblle!" Translation--have a great Thanksgiving!  Eat beef, not turkey!

Sunday, November 11

Birthday Fun Continues!

Hello!  I'm finding it hard to keep up with the blog lately.  Since the holidays are approaching, I find that life seems to get busier.  I've been continuing with birthday fun, and wanted to share a few tips for others to get free stuff for their birthdays as well.  I have received freebies from Chili's, Texas Roadhouse, Auntie Ann's, Speedway (I know, a bit weird), and Dairy Queen.  How, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you!

Chili's: Go to their website and sign up for their e-mail club.  You receive coupons on a regular basis for specials that they run at the restaurants for appetizers, desserts, drinks and more.  On your birthday, you receive a coupon for a free dessert (mine was a brownie sundae, but I don't know if it changes).

Texas Roadhouse: My favorite restaurant, by the way!  Join their e-mail club (used to be called VIP club) by clicking on the link for a free appetizer on the bottom of the page.  Fill out the info and you'll receive a free appetizer on your birthday, and a free appetizer for your anniversary (if you're married) and also for your "anniversary" of the date of signing up for the e-mail club.

Auntie Ann's: Sign up for Pretzel Perks.  Again, it's an e-mail thing.  You receive monthly coupons for free pretzels or drinks, and for your birthday you also get a free pretzel (this time, I had to buy a pretzel to get one for free.  Oh well.).  These are sent out all year.

Speedway Gas Stations: If you are a member of the Speedy Rewards points club, you know that you receive points for anything and everything you buy from the gas station/convenience store.  On your birthday, you are sent a coupon for 200 free points--just go in with the coupon and your rewards card and have the cashier scan it, and boom!  Free points.  You can earn a lot of great things with your points, from free candy bars to money off your gas purchase.

Dairy Queen: Join the Blizzard Fan Club and you receive occasional coupons for Blizzards.  On your birthday, you receive a BOGO for Blizzards.  One is never really enough anyway, right?

I'm sure that there are others out there too; if you have some ideas, leave a comment at the bottom of the post!

I'm a bit sad about being a year older.  When you start to realize that you are getting to the age in life that you never thought you'd be when you were young, it sobers you a bit.  Sometimes being a grown-up is hard and not fun.  But when you have great family around you, and someone to love and spend all of your birthdays with, it is worth it.

We spent this weekend with family--my mother and stepfather on Saturday, and my in-laws on Sunday.  We all had a good time together.  Now I'm wondering, "where did the weekend go??"!  Here are a few photos of our fun on Saturday at the Toledo Zoo.  They are setting up for the annual Lights Before Christmas display, which can be seen in some of the photos:

White Lion--he looks fierce, but he's actually just yawning.
Mr. Hippo gives us the stink-eye.  He has tiny eyes.
Lizard!?! "I seeeeee yoooooouuuu!"
One more lizard.  I loved his colors!
The elusive mallard.  "Quack quack quack".  Translation: Quack quack quack.

What a great day to work on your tan...
Owl Corner: Long-Eared Owls
Photo from Wikipedia
Long-eared owls are kind of funny looking, in my opinion.  Kind of like they are constantly surprised.  These owls are medium in size, averaging around 14" tall, with females being slightly larger.  They have a brown and buff colored plumage, and the females tend to be a little lighter in color.  Their habitats encompass most of the United States, and they are also widely found across Europe and into parts of Asia, including Russia and China.  They tend to be found in forests, woodlands, and river areas, with nests typically found in very dense forests.  The females typically lay 4-5 eggs, but can be as few as three and as many as eight eggs at a time.  They prey mostly on other mammals, such as voles, mice, squirrels, bats, and even small rabbits.  They are also known to hunt other birds, and their enemies include Great Horned and Barred owls, and raccoons are known to steal eggs.

Information taken from The Owl Pages and All About Birds.

Aging is an inevitable part of life.  From the moment we are born, we being to age, and yes, die.  No one is immune from this, regardless of all of the silly vampire movies that say otherwise.  The Bible has several passages about growing old and still being Christ-like: "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:16-18).  "Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled" (Titus 2:2-5).  And finally, "The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair" (Proverbs 20:29).  (That last one was for the hubs, when he someday loses his auburn locks to the distinguished look of white.)  While our bodies will always age, it's what we do with them that makes all of the difference to the Lord.  He has given us directions of how to "age gracefully", so to speak.  It's what I strive for--but I am rarely graceful.  Still...if I have to get old, I might as well do it Biblically!

Sunday, November 4

German Glass Glitter...You've Gotta Try This Stuff! And Birthday Fun.

Well, I've been having fun the past few days.  Which makes the stomach bug, which I'm experiencing now, a major bummer.  Plus, this is the one night each year that gains an hour, which makes it the longest night of the year to be up running back and forth to the bathroom--major major bummer.  So, to pass the time and take my mind off of the sickness, I'll tell you what I've been up to.

German Glass Glitter
I am a new fan of this stuff!  I read about it a while ago in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and decided to give it a try.  If you haven't heard of it before, I'll explain: German glass glitter is basically what the name implies.  It is ground-up colored glass, and it comes in many different grit sizes and colors (I purchased three different grits, and I think I like the fine grit the best for the project that I'm working on).  Obviously, as this is tiny bits of glass, it is sharp, and yes, I've already drawn a little blood.  Here are the colors I purchased:

In these pics, you can see the different sizes of the glass grains.  The silver seems the most dangerous!

I'm working on some new items for my Etsy store using the glass glitter, and I'll share some pictures with you here: 
That's as far as I've been able to get with this particular project, though.  More to come when I'm finished!

With all of the coverage on the news and Internet about the hurricane that struck the eastern US last week, I'll not bother with saying much here.  All we got was a lot of wind and rain, but we also got some snow from it, which tickled me pink.  Hubby thought I was crazy for being so excited about seeing our first snow for the year, but I am like this every year when we get our first flakes.  It did make driving into work a tad treacherous, but here are a few fun pictures of the fluffiness:
You can see that not all of the trees have dropped their leaves yet, but many blew off during the storm.  I'm so glad to be this far inland, and not have had to experience what folks out east have been going through. 

Birthday Fun
My birthday is coming up this week, so we decided to celebrate this weekend, since a weekday birthday is pretty inflexible when it comes to having fun.  Hubby so sweetly decided to take Friday off, and we spent the day together, running errands, doing chores around the house, and eventually ending up having dinner at a quaint restaurant about a half hour away that I've mentioned before, Jeanne's Kitchen.  We had a good day.  But Saturday was really what I've been looking forward to ever since I found out what my dear husband had planned for us:
Here are a couple of photos of the Ohio countryside as we traveled to our destination...
And here is a picture of my birthday weekendapalooza purchases.  Wait a that...

Oh, yes it is...
Why, whatever could it be??
Silly girl, you picked it out...
Open it! Open it!
Oh, isn't it lovely?
It's a sterling silver piece of their 175th anniversary jewelry collection.  It's on a sterling silver chain, and both are stamped with the Tiffany & Co. logo.  Yes, my husband took me to Tiffany & Co. in Columbus and let me shop and try on all sorts of jewels!  I've never been in a Tiffany's, so this was extremely exciting.  When we first walked in, we entered a lobby area and were met by a well-dressed salesman and a well-dressed security guard.  I understood why there was a guard, but didn't expect it.  You don't see this sort of thing when you go to Zales at the mall.  The salesman took us around the store, asking us questions and trying to feel us out.  He showed us everything that they had.  I found a lot of things that were simply gorgeous, but way out of our price range.  The $58,000, 2+ carat diamond ring took the cake as the most expensive piece I tried on, which was fun because our salesman knew there was no possibility that we would buy it.  He didn't seem to mind, though.  The ring was so incredibly brilliant and simply stunning, with a narrow platinum band and a huge diamond in the middle.  The salesman put it on my finger, and my husband and I both exclaimed in unison, "Wow".  There were no other words.  While I know that I would never wear anything so audacious out in public even if I had the money to purchase such a piece, I couldn't help but think that I would love to be "the one percent" (if I bought into that whole school of thought).  I had picked out three necklaces, and finally decided on the one in the picture.  I really do like it!  I plan to wear it often.  Before going to Tiffany's, hubby took me to a very fancy steakhouse called Smith & Wollensky's, a restaurant that he'd eaten at before while in Columbus for work, but a place that I never had the pleasure to patronize until now.  It was neat, and the steak was soooo good!  We also ordered sides of green beans and lobster mac and cheese.  I didn't care for the green beans--they had been sauteed and mixed with Gorgonzola cheese, which I found out upon tasting that I didn't like (hubby agreed).  I tried to eat around it as much as I could.  Didn't matter, though--the steak more than made up for it!  For dessert, we ordered a piece of chocolate cake, which was huge.  We took most of it with us to eat later.  After lunch and jewelry shopping, we walked around, visiting other stores, and finally left after many hours of shopping, eating and walking.  It was a wonderful day spent with the man I love most (and not just because he took me to THE jewelry store).  I thank God for him every day, and am so glad to be blessed with such a sweet, kind, and thoughtful husband.  He really is a great guy, and I love him more and more as time goes by.  I look forward to many many years of happiness with him.  Thank you, my dear, for a wonderful day that will always be in my mind and heart!